Some people in Santa Barbara feel the SBPD are picking on certain ethnic groups by singling them out for towing because they don’t have driver’s licenses. This is simply not true. The people being stopped are a random selection at check points that are setup throughout the city of Santa Barbara and the county of Santa Barbara. These check points are setup in high traffic areas with a high rate of accidents. For example: Garden Street and Gutierrez Street. That location is targeting the flow of traffic to and from the freeway which is being funneled into the downtown area. Other locations within the city sometimes used would be on the Mesa or Cliff Drive (focusing on SBCC). In the county the locations may be on Storke Road and Hollister Avenue or the 217 Freeway and Hollister Avenue. I don’t see how these locations can be focusing on certain ethnic groups.
Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege in this state. It is not an amendment right. The rules must be followed and enforced. Can you imagine the alternative if the local law enforcement did not conduct these check points? 90 percent of all people driving without a valid license also do not carry auto insurance. The general public would be scrutinizing the police department and the chief of police if nothing was being done about this.
The idea of parking the vehicle for 20 minutes while a licensed driver comes to take possession of the vehicle is absurd! These people have already committed an offense with no remorse. They will be driving again as soon as the vehicle is driven away from the police by the licensed driver. We need to make that harder for that to happen by taking their vehicle. Even by taking the vehicle does not prevent them from driving. That is why the state forfeits any vehicle being driven by a third offender unlicensed driver. This system is working for the most part. The price of towing and the 30 day mandatory impound usually costs about $1800. That is a lot of money, but the unlicensed driver has already made their choice by driving.
There are other alternatives such as: cabs, bus, etc. It is inconvenient, but it works. About 50 percent of all vehicles towed are picked up. Most offenders will leave the vehicle and go buy another one for about $500 and drive that one until it gets towed as well. The tow companies are not making a killing off this 30 day hold law. You have to consider the cost of towing and storage cost. The towing company has to lien sale the vehicle in order to get rid of it and pay the driver’s wages to tow in the vehicle. After 30 days of storage the tow company is into the vehicle for about $2800 which includes the previous stated 30 day impound charge, wages, insurance, and fuel. You have to tow a lot of vehicles to offset this especially if 50 percent of all vehicles are not picked up by the owners. Out of all vehicles not picked up, half are sold for about $500 to $800. The other half are sold to a salvage yard for about $250. You can see the tow companies are not making a killing.