05/23/08 Tow those
At the May meeting of the
Bachman/Northwest Highway Community Association, Councilman Steve Salazar got an
earful about how his Northwest Dallas constituents feel about towing the cars of
any uninsured motorist stopped for a traffic offense, regardless of how minor.
He made some reasonable arguments for not towing the cars, but the audience was
having none of it. When asked for a show of hands from those who support
towing, we overwhelmingly support yanking those cars off the street.
One point Councilman Salazar made that had merit was his concern about DPD
officers' time being tied up waiting for the tow truck and/or making sure the
driver and passengers (i.e., mother with children) were taken home. He
said he wanted the officers in the neighborhoods catching burglars. I also
want more officers in our neighborhoods catching bad guys, but I want uninsured
drivers off our streets.
An uninsured driver stopped for a traffic violation is an accident waiting to
happen. If an officer takes an uninsured driver's car off the street, he
is saving a future victim from damage to their vehicle and/or person.
When (not if) the uninsured driver hits someone, the DPD officer will be tied up
just as long as he would have been waiting for the wrecker to tow the uninsured
driver's car after a traffic stop. If the car is off the street, the
uninsured driver is less likely to damage or destroy someone else's vehicle.
Former DISD School Board President Roxan Staff (President of BNWHCA) told him
her bank requires insurance before they will make a car loan. She said the
group hurt the most by uninsured drivers are low income car owners, who usually
can afford only liability insurance and not casualty insurance. When they
are hit by an uninsured driver, they are doubly victimized. They have been
deprived of their vehicle, as surely as if someone had stolen the car from them
Councilman Mitch Rasansky has sent out this call to action. If you can be
at City Hall next Wednesday for this item, it would be time well spent.
Some council members
express sincere concern for people who must have a car to get to work.
They are being short-sighted by trying to recognize an uninsured motorist's right to drive on our city streets
-- a right that does not exist.
Driving on your own driveway is a right. Driving on public streets is a
privilege that comes with various restrictions. You cannot legally drive
on our public streets without a drivers license issued by the Texas Department
of Public Safety. You cannot legally drive on our public streets if your
car does not have a current inspection sticker. You cannot legally drive
on our public streets without liability insurance. These are not options;
they are state law.
A few weeks ago, a Dallas County Constable gave me a huge ticket because my inspection
sticker had expired. I flat overlooked it and actually had the truck into the dealership
a couple of weeks earlier for
service and thought they inspected it. No, the sticker was clearly
expired, and it was my fault. There was nothing wrong with my 2005 SUV,
and it passed inspection without any problem. That doesn't mean it was OK
for me to break the law and drive it with an expired sticker. Instead of
being out $37 for the inspection and new sticker, I got to pay the Justice of
the Peace over $200 for the ticket.
You don't forget your insurance has expired. They send you notices and
invoices. You make a decision not to pay your insurance premium or not
even to bother getting insurance at all.
Because some irresponsible people choose to violate state law by driving without
insurance, others have to pay more because we must buy "uninsured" drivers
insurance in addition to liability and collision coverage.
I am sick of only law-abiding people following the rules when a subculture of
law breakers are allowed to set their own rules. People cannot live
together without rules of conduct. Anarchy may sound romantic to some
morons, but it doesn't make for peaceable or productive living.
This is not comparable to a bunch of Conservation Nazis or other control freaks
imposing unreasonable burdens on their neighbors or other people's property.
If you own a house, it is usually located on land that you also own. If it
is not kept in reasonable good order, your property can cause harm to your
neighbor's property or even your entire neighborhood. We have Code
Enforcement officers to protect our neighborhoods from irresponsible owners (or
renters). Unfortunately, bad guys will always find loopholes to
avoid doing what they should.
Why is it that some people just won't do right? They
think they are exempt from the same regulations others must follow. It
doesn't stop with failure to buy car insurance. They will not do what
they are supposed to do, no matter what. They don't care about anyone but themselves.
Driving without insurance with your family in your car indicates you don't much
care about your family either. You can't call them your "loved ones"
because your actions make it clear you don't love them enough to protect them or
follow the law.
If you own a car, you are not automatically entitled to drive it on public
streets. There are certain expenses you must be able to cover if you are
going to drive a car. If you can't afford the cost of operating a car, we
have mass transit.
Councilman Rasansky is on the right side of this fight, and he needs your help
to clean up our city streets.