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Poll: Should the Vehicles of Unlicensed Drivers be Impounded?

Where do you stand on the touchy issue, which appears to have split L.A. along racial lines?

In an interview with last month, Patch raised an issue that the Los Angeles Times highlights in an opinion column Monday: Whether or not the vehicles of so-called illegal immigrants should be impounded if they are found driving without a drivers’ license—and the offending drivers let off with a citation.

Specifically, we asked Huizar: “Do you consider the City of L.A. to be a Sanctuary City in which the interests of illegal aliens—a legal term in the federal code books, not a derisive one—appears to be heavily favored while the general public’s interests become subordinate?”

Huizar responded by saying, in part, that although Los Angeles has not technically been declared a Sanctuary City, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck deserves kudos for his “administrative decision to allow these drivers to [retain] their cars, and allow [them] to be cited.”

Huizar defended Beck’s decision on the grounds that it’s not uncommon for the families of illegal immigrants found driving without a license to rely “on the automobile to get their kids to school—maybe it’s the only vehicle in that family that allows those families to get to work.”

In his Monday column, the editor of the Times’ editorial pages, Jim Newton, writes that “Beck's approach strikes me as humane and sensible.” He adds: “What's problematic is whether this really is his call to make.”

Newton argues that letting unlicensed drivers off by citing them and not impounding their vehicles if licensed drivers claims those vehicles is a policy issue with such far-reaching implications that Beck ought not to have the authority to call the shots in the matter.

“What Beck is proposing is a matter of intense public interest; it would significantly affect the actions of police officers; and debate over it has polarized the city partly along racial lines,” writes Newton.

To read Newton’s column, click this link.

To read Huizar’s take on the issue, click here.

And spare a moment to take our poll about whether or not you think it makes sense to let unlicensed drivers off with a citation. Tell us in the Comments section whether you think LAPD Chief Beck should be the deciding authority in the matter.

Henk Friezer January 30, 2012 at 09:43 PM
most definitely! As has been stated many times , driving is a privilege not a right. You abuse this privilege than you must abide by the consequences. Why should the rest of us have to pay for mishaps of those that are unlicensed/ uninsured and continue to scoff at the laws that apply equally to everyone. As for the argument that the undocumented are unable to receive a license, they are probably here illegally, thus breaking two laws. Why give those scofflaws a free pass. I am sure that licenses and insurance are required south of the border. The absurdity of having a legal driver pick the car after a traffic stop is insane, do those that proposed that regulation really think that the lawbreaker will not immediately receive their vehicle back and start driving again without rectifying their driving status? Don't think so.
Marilyn January 30, 2012 at 10:23 PM
What part of unlicensed drivers killing 8000 real people a year is so hard to understand? A third grader could figure this out. Take the car away. Get the facts: http://deadlydrivers.org/
Ralph Hoffmann January 31, 2012 at 06:47 AM
The vehicles of all drivers should be impounded for emittng Green House Gases.
Susan R January 31, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Ralph if no one drove no one would have a job and we would all be homeless except for those rich people that can afford to just stay home. Can you afford to give people jobs that are next to their homes or in their homes? Why should anyone be exempt from obeying the law. That is the point.
Sarah Bucolic January 31, 2012 at 04:46 PM
My husband was in a motorcycle accident this month with an idiot lady who drove off leaving him in the street with a broken leg and shattered ankle. She was in a light teal colored Mercedes SUV pretty new. Police said she most likely didn't have insurance or a license. Now were stuck with the deductible because this immoral idiot can't obey the rules. How can anyone leave an injured person in the street and just drive off? And to make things worse she pulled over up ahead, got out of the car and looked back at my husband, got back in her car and sped off. Luckily people who were around the area came to my husband's aid and he was taken to the hospital. My co-worker's brother was also hit this month by an unlicensed driver who stole a car, ran a stop sign, smashed into another car, and ran. I strongly believe cars should be impounded if the driver is unlicensed. We would have a lot less accidents and Injuries.
Kathy January 31, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Ralph, calm down and take a puff.
mark January 31, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Well it seems like you guys have a problem with uninsured motorists, not unlicensed drivers. They question was in regard to unlicensed, not uninsured. Maybe there should be a choice to allow people to obtain licenses without regard to their immigration status. Or perhaps to instigate a no-fault insurance or at least a no-fault with a Quantitative threshold system. I mean even insured/licensed drivers must be tempted to run if they hit an expensive car or cause extensive injury, which might be well beyond their policy limits.
Ajay Singh (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Sarah—sorry to hear about your husband's plight. Did nobody note the license plate number of the hit-and-run lady? (Or did she stop the SUV too far for anyone to read the numbers?).
Ralph Hoffmann January 31, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Susan & Kathy, Pot and cigarettes are bad for your lungs just like GHGs, and are equally addictive. Halfway measures like forming carpools are like chewing Nicorette gum before quitting entirely and using public transit.
Kathy January 31, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Unlicensed and uninsured go hand in hand and equal irresponsible and dangerous drivers. If you don't have a valid licesnse and or have a license and can't afford insurance YOU SHOULD STAY OFF THE ROAD. Hit and run accidents cause horrid burdens on responsible people who work very hard to pay high insurance premiums. Then some low-life idiot comes along, maims and kills. Unlicensed, uninsured should pay a heavy penalty for their callous irresponsible actions.
Erykah Grande February 02, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Wow! @ The poll results. AMAZING. How the heck is driver without a LICENSE a "THREAT" to society?! LOL Wow. I am truly at a loss for words, dear patch readers. Just. Wow.

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