Austin Public Safety Commission Gridlocked on Proposal to Expand Police Impound Abilities



Austin Personal Injury Lawyers

Austin Personal Injury Lawyers - Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC

Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) November 17, 2016 – Driving without a license is an issue in Austin, and the police department wants to do something about it.

A proposal put forth to Austin lawmakers would allow the police department to impound a car when the driver has no license. The police would be allowed to impound and tow a vehicle involved in an accident if the driver has a suspended license or no license. Law enforcement feels that this pro-active step forward would assist with Vision Zero’s goal of reducing traffic deaths. El Paso, Waco, Dallas, Corpus Christi, and San Antonio already have policies in place similar to the proposal in Austin.

Last year alone, 102 died in car accidents in Austin, an all-time high according to police. In the last five years, 20 percent of traffic deaths involved drivers without a license or who had suspended/revoked licenses.
“The proposal would further allow law enforcement to impound a vehicle in a traffic stop situation if the person behind the wheel has no license and two prior convictions. Or, if the driver has a suspended license due to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is a habitual moving violation offender,” explained Austin auto accident attorney, Brooks Schuelke.

Although a number of politicians felt the suggested proposal had a great deal of merit, some commissioners suggest that City Council may not approve it. The biggest concern is that the proposal might have an impact on undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to obtain a driver’s license.

Even though the existing state law allows police to impound vehicles and arrest drivers stopped for driving without a license, the proposed new policy would mean the department could impound vehicles and not arrest. According to those in favor of the proposal, driving without a license is not acceptable on public safety grounds.

“While that is true,” added Schuelke, “driving without a license is still a very large issue in terms of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths. It is a problem that needs to be addressed, but the real question is how to address it efficiently and effectively.”

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