Assembly Memeber Brown Introduces Bill 335 to Curb Costly Vehicle Impounds

Below you will find Assembly Woman Cheryl Brown’s latest Bill. This Bill by its own wording seems to further work against our Law Enforcement professionals when trying to enforce our Laws that you must have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in California.

This bill claims it is aimed at helping low income families that can’t afford to pay impound fees by allowing a licensed driver to come pick up the vehicle. My biggest problem with this is what is keeping them from getting behind the wheel of that same vehicle the following day? If a licensed family member couldn’t keep the car from being legally driven the first time without the threat of penalty they won’t worry about the second or third……….

I find it mind boggling that we continue to raise taxes on purchases; gas and income then turn around and blame the police and long existing laws on the plight of the low income families.

In the second piece by the Assembly Woman’s office the statement is made that only people outside of the 47th district are upset about the new law. I don’t think that is true at all. I received this press release weeks ago and was torn on posting it. You see I have developed a relationship with Assembly Woman Brown’s office. They include me in her press releases and since local papers and media don’t seem to find her work important we have become the go to place to get the latest and greatest. Now that I am publishing this opposition piece that will probably go away.

Something my father told me was the only people afraid of the law is people living outside of it. Why would a low income person that has a valid license even have a reason to fear their vehicle being impounded? They wouldn’t here is a list of reasons you are without a license:

DUI

Reckless driving

Too many tickets

Owing child support

Not a Valid Resident

So pretty much this only affects people that drink and drive, have no respect for the road rules or they owe child support and refuse to pay. Hmmm ok now it’s clear why we need these laws right?

Now to the Police Departments, that is listed as already changing the laws to fit someone’s political leaning. All of these cities have 2 things in common high crime and felony disrespect for enforcing laws that are difficult at times. LAPD & LASD both have had tons of controversy over the last couple years are we really going to use them as a test study for a law like this?

So what do the stats say about unlicensed drivers and the cause and effect of impounding vehicles? Here is a break down:

  • In 2008 AAA (Triple A) conducted a study of accidents in 6 states titled “Unlicensed to Kill”, in those states California was included.
  • 7,700 fatal crashed per year.
  • 1 out of 7 drivers involved in those crashes had no license, an invalid license or an unknown status.
  • Annually 4,000 people are killed in collisions in California.
  • More than 20% of Drivers involved in these collisions are not licensed to drive.
  • A driver with a suspended license is 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision.
  • California has 20 million licensed drivers.
  • 720,000 licenses have been suspended or revoked.
  • Estimated 1 million drivers are driving without ever being issued a license,

In Rialto alone the following stats are provided (2010-2011):

  • 2080 citations were issued for CVC 12500, unlicensed drivers.
  • 895 citations were issued for CVC 14601, suspension violations.
  • 129 drivers involved in collisions were unlicensed (21.99%).
  • 69 drivers involved in Hit & Run collisions were unlicensed (22.07%).

So if all of this isn’t enough to make you wonder why we would lessen the penalty of Driving without the proper license this story from one of the cities (San Francisco) that has a police department currently allowing unlicensed driver to keep their cars.

Drew Rosenberg, 25, was killed by an unlicensed driver who was in the U.S. under a program called Temporary Protective Status. Attempts at obtaining justice for this crime have thus far gone unheeded. Here is a detailed account of what has transpired. Read more about him and his families loss at http://unlicensedtokill.org/

Driving is a privilege and not a right…if you abuse it, then it is taken away.

If you would like to let The Assembly Woman know how you feel please contact her PR person:

CONTACT: Ashley Jones

(909) 381-3238

Ashley.Jones@asm.ca.gov

Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown Seeks to Curb Costly Vehicle Impounds

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino)  has introduced AB 335, a bill that will assist the working class communities by prohibiting law enforcement from impounding vehicles that can be parked legally or released to a licensed driver. AB 335 would amend the current law that requires a police officer to impound a car if the person is found driving a vehicle without a license or driving with a suspended or revoked license.

“The goal of this bill is to help curb the practice of impounding and holding vehicles for 30 days for drivers who are cited with a suspended or revoked license. A driver should never operate a  vehicle  without a license, but they shouldn’t be forced to pay thousands of dollars in towing and impoundment fees as a result of a mandatory 30 day hold,” said Assemblymember Brown.

Vehicle impounds have a devastating impact on working class drivers who depend on their cars to get to work, transport their children to school and take care of other necessities. The cost of retrieving the vehicle is often so high that they end up losing the car.

“There are several police departments around the state that have implemented their own vehicle impoundment policy against unlicensed drivers. Those departments allow such drivers to either park their cars in a legal parking space or move the car to avoid an impoundment. AB 335 would simply codify this policy to make it a statewide practice,” concluded Assemblymember Brown.

The bill was introduced yesterday and has been moved to the Assembly Rules Committee for assignment to the appropriate policy committee.

Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown represents the 47th Assembly District, which includes Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Rialto, San Bernardino, and the unincorporated communities of Bloomington and Muscoy.

Website of Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown: http://www.asmdc.org/members/a47/

WHY OPPOSITION TO AB 335 IS BASED ON MISGUIDED ASSUMPTIONS

February 21, 2013

If you have not heard the misguided outrage over my introduction of AB 335 dealing with impounding vehicles for traffic violations, you probably live in the 47th Assembly District, which is the District I represent.

It appears that my legislation has been the focus of groups and individuals who do not live in the 47th Assembly District and are oblivious to the abuse the bill is designed to prevent. While I realize that the opposition is stemming from a certain mindset and predetermined judgments that have absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of the legislation, I would hope everyone reads the bill before they jump to assumptions that we are condoning unlicensed drivers.

First, this bill is drafted to protect low and fixed-income families who can’t afford to lose their only means of transportation for 30 days because someone in the household decided to drive without a valid driver’s license.  It is unquestionable that vehicle impounds have a disproportionate impact on low-income drivers because the cost of the impound fees are often greater than the vehicle’s value.  In fact, the cost of retrieving a vehicle from impound is sometimes so expensive that low and fixed-income families choose to walk away from their vehicles instead of paying the unaffordable impound fees.  Eventually, drivers who fail to pay the fees vehicles are routinely auctioned off to the benefit of the towing company.  Unfortunately, for those families, this is usually the only vehicle the family owns.

For example, in San Bernardino drivers of impounded vehicles pay a $225 towing fee and $50 a day in storage fees.  After a 30-day hold, it leaves owners with a bill of $1,725. Oakland has a $170 towing fee and $60 a day in storage fees, which is $1,970.  In 2010, Oakland towed 2,058 cars of unlicensed drivers, accumulating about $288,120 in tow release fees.  In the city of Escondido, towing fees generate approximately $400,000 a year.  These large fees and penalties are exactly the kind of fiscal incentive that too often leads to abuse of impounding laws.

AB 335 simply implements what several police departments around the state have voluntarily added to their own internal policy, which allows a driver with an invalid license to safely park their cars in a legal parking space, or they can authorize a licensed driver to take the car from the scene.  The police departments of Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Vallejo, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Sheriff, in addition to several others are part of the growing list of agencies choosing to not impound driver’s vehicles.

In the 47th Assembly District as with all households, most are licensed drivers but there is always one or two that don’t have a valid license.  This is no reason to impound their vehicles for an inordinate amount of time, especially 30 days.  It does not take that long to clear up any deficiencies with one’s driving privileges.

Under this bill, unlicensed drivers will still be cited or arrested and pay the requisite fees/fines.  There is absolutely nothing in AB 335 that prevents full enforcement or punishment of unlicensed drivers.   However, if a vehicle can be legally parked or released to a licensed driver to avoid the impound costs, it will be permitted.

So assumptions that this bill allows unlicensed drivers to continue driving illegally for whatever reason are not true.  It is also not true that simply allowing a family member or individual to safely recover their only means of transportation empowers them to drive illegally.  To assume, that every car impounded is owned by the driver is also false.  The bill does not prevent any officer on site making the decision to tow; however, it does make it the officer’s last option.  This would be very important for grandma to get her car back because she did not know that her grandchild was driving on a revoked, suspended or invalid license.

I encourage you to visit my website to read more about AB 335.

Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown represents the 47th Assembly District, which includes Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Rialto, San Bernardino, and the unincorporated communities of Bloomington and Muscoy.

Website of Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown: http://www.asmdc.org/members/a47/.

https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011Unlicensed2Kill.pdf – 2011

https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/UnlicensedToKillResearchUpdate.pdf – 2008

 

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