Unlicensed Drivers Get 20-Minute Grace Period

By Leticia Miranda Oct 27, 2009

San Francisco City has just reformed its policy on impounding the vehicles of unlicensed drivers. Starting next week, if you don’t have a license and you get pulled over, you have a full 20 minutes to get a hold of a licensed and insured driver to drive away the car. Great! That’s just enough time to pray that someone will pick up their phone, then manage to get out of work in the middle of the day and pray some more that the bus they have to take is running fast and there’s no traffic on the roads. Although SFPD won’t say it, the reform came about in large part because of the efforts of immigrant rights advocates who said the old policy, which automatically sent cars to the impound lot, discriminated against immigrants. The fees to get your car out of the impound lot are pretty hefty, starting at around $200 and going up with every day that you don’t come by to pick it up. San Francisco Police Department spokesman officer Boaz Mariles says:

"We think it’s progressive. We think it’s forward thinking and we think other (police) departments will take notice."

I don’t know about it being "progressive," but it is a change and other police departments have noticed. Oakland, CA and San Jose, CA are also considering changing their policies.