In response to growing criticism, the Los Angeles Police Department has announced that a new impound policy is now in effect for sobriety checkpoints.
Under the new LAPD policy, drivers who do not have licenses or insurance will be allowed to call a legal driver to retrieve the vehicle, rather then towing it to an impound yard where fees quickly accrue. Minority rights groups had protested that legal and illegal immigrants were particularly hard-hit by the former policy because they could not afford to reclaim their vehicles.
“If the registered owner is unlicensed, the owner may authorize release of the vehicle to a licensed driver at the scene, and the unlicensed driver will be issued a citation,” LAPD spokesman Richard French said. “When the vehicle cannot be released to a licensed driver, the vehicle will be impounded.”
The policy will not apply to DUI offenders. Vehicles of alleged drunk drivers or drivers with suspended licenses due to DUI charges will still be towed and impounded, the LAPD said.