There is a big controversy going on south of our Sacramento home in Escondido, along with cases being brought against Los Angeles and several other Southern California counties for similar reasons. People are opposing a new system that has increased checkpoints throughout the city of Escondido. Police have two to five checkpoints up once a month to check for drunk drivers and people driving without a license. The police chief of Escondido, Jim Maher, says that this system is to reduce the amount of hit-and-run car accidents.
Hit-and-run car accidents can be a dreadful situation to be in, especially if the person injured does not carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. People who are drunk or do not have a license are more likely to run after a car crash, fearing jail and loss of their car.
The new checkpoint system has actually proved to lower hit-and-run accidents since begun. In the first half of 2007 there were 281 hit-and-run accidents, compared to 370 during the first half of 2006 — a 24% drop in hit-and-run accidents in one year.
So why is this new system, that is lowering these terrible car accidents, at such opposition? People coming against the new system say that it is targeted at illegal immigrants and Latinos. Escondido’s policy against unlicensed drivers is also much stricter than most counties. Once found, the unlicensed person will be arrested and their car gets immediately impounded, whether or not there is a licensed driver in the car to take the car. Impounded for 30 days, the car will cost an average of $1,120 to get back.
Since June of 2007, 23 drivers without licenses have been arrested, 5 drivers under the influence arrested, and 434 cars impounded in the first half of 2007. This is a pretty substantial number, and to me it seems to be for the best in the long run to protect innocent victims of car crashes. We will see what happens in the future with this large dispute. Until then, keep safe on the road, and make sure you carry your license!