Drivers who do not provide proof of liability insurance when stopped for a traffic violation in Dallas will now have their vehicles towed.
The Uninsured Motorist Ordinance that started Jan 1. 2009 was approved by the Dallas City Council on May 28, 2008. The Dallas Police Department will tow every car without proof of the state-mandated liability insurance to the Dallas Auto Pound at the owner's expense. Police will also issue the driver a citation.
In the past Dallas only towed uninsured vehicles after they had been involved in wrecks. In 2007, officers cited 75,000 drivers for no insurance.
"In addition, officers towed over 3,000 vehicles from accident scenes in 2007 where the driver did not have insurance," said David Kunkle, Dallas Police Chief. "Motorists are urged to obtain the proper state-required auto insurance to avoid having their vehicles towed."
Supporters of the expanded towing plan complained that towing uninsured cars after they've been in wrecks is too late to save other drivers from the problem.
"If you don't have insurance, your car needs to be off the street. If you hit somebody, you're going to do damage to the other people," said Mitchell Rasansky, Dallas City Council Member.
Critics of the plan said it will require millions of dollars in expansion to handle all the towed cars at the police impound lot, more staff to process all the impounded cars, and that police time would be wasted waiting for wreckers to tow the vehicles.
"I don't want my officer out waiting on a tow truck when they could have caught the person that burglarized my office or my home. I think that's what a lot of people think," said Steve Salazar, Dallas City Council Member.
Towing fees will be at least $175 per vehicle to help cover improvements to handle all the vehicles at the city lot. Police will make towing exceptions for hardship cases like mothers with children.
During the first day of the policy, Dallas Police towed 24 cars that failed to provide insurance, while on Friday, 33 vehicles were towed, including 9 involved in accidents.