Colorado: Voters Reject Mandatory Vehicle Confiscation

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

Voters in Denver, Colorado last Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have forced police to impound cars whenever a driver failed to produce a driver’s license. The measure was designed to expand a 2008 impound ordinance in a way that would have increased pressure on illegal immigrants. “They are responsible for about half of the fatal accidents and, of course, they are uninsured,” initiative sponsor Daniel Hayes argued. “Illegal aliens, like all unlicensed drivers, will be towed just as a domestic driver under suspension or revocation.”

The text of the initiative called for the immediate impounding of a vehicle — with no room for officer discretion — if its driver “may be reasonably suspected” of being an illegal alien. The punishment, however, would have also applied to any driver who had forgotten his wallet at home. Driving without “convincing corroborating identification” would have required impounding, stranding a properly licensed owner on the side of the road. The initiative would have boosted the penalty on forgetful owners to $200 plus a $120 towing fee, a $30 processing fee and $20 per day storage.

Others would have been forced to post a $2500 bond within thirty days for the release of the vehicle. Denver officials, including the mayor, police chief and city council, strongly opposed the initiative based on the experience with the 2008 initiative authorizing impounding with officer discretion.

Denver Police estimated the number of tows would have doubled from 15,732 in 2009 to 33,892 in 2010, requiring five more police officers to handle the work load. Overall, the department estimated increased enforcement costs of $1.6 million, not counting the revenue from the impounds. For a total of two months this year, the city’s impound lot reached the maximum capacity of 2200 cars and officers would only tow vehicles in cases where the vehicle was used as evidence of a crime.

“Under the proposal, drivers who simply forgot their identification will continue to be inconvenienced and police time tied up impounding vehicles for minor infractions and waiting for tow trucks instead of focusing on drivers who pose real public safety risks such as habitual traffic offenders or those driving under the influence,” the city council stated in a proclamation. “I-300 actually makes it tougher for innocent lien holders to recoup their business costs for a vehicle that is impounded through no fault of their own.”

On election day, 70 percent of voters rejected the initiative.


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  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Nov 11, 2009

    Like George, I don't understand why they can't just check their computers. I want uninsured drivers off the road.

  • Seschub Seschub on Nov 11, 2009

    A few fatalities/ lives destroyed are a small price to pay for cheap strawberries and maid services.

  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??
  • Slavuta "There’s also the problem of climate change, and the more intense weather that comes along with it"How could one even write something like this? We don't have more intense weather. We have better weather. When Earth started, it was a fiery ball. We don't know what weather was in 1700. And even if we know some of it in Europe, we don't know what was happening in Africa, South America, Oceania, etc. We have people living in places where they did not live before. We have news that report weather related events minutes later or during. This did not happen before. There is no evidence that we have an increase in intensity. I looked into historical records in the area where I live - there is not much movement at all between 1970 and now. And remember - none of the previous weather predictions have materialized.