Friday, February 14, 2014

Suspended but undeterred

One of my many, many pet peeves is suspended driving. People lose their driving privileges for a number of reasons, but the leading causes are too many tickets in too short of a time period, conviction of drunk driving, and failure to have insurance after being involved in a traffic crash. Oh, and when you're convicted of driving while suspended, your driving privilege is...suspended some more. 

Yesterday morning around 5:00 o'clock I was perusing the recent police incidents, when I noticed that there had been seven suspended driving arrests since midnight. That piqued my curisosity, so I launched a query, and found that there had been 481 suspended drivers so far in 2014, and 3,153 in calendar year 2013. It has become one of the most frequent of all traffic offenses.

 Suspended drivers particularly annoy me because many are chronic repeaters, and many (probably most) do not have valid insurance, as required by law. Good luck if you get involved in a crash with one of these motorists--who by definition have already proven themselves to be poor drivers. My big concern are the chronic repeats: people who get arrested for DUS over and over again.

To my way of thinking, after you've been convicted of suspended driving a two or three times, your next conviction ought to involve the forfeiture of the car you were driving--if you own it, or if the person who owned it knew that you were suspended. Interesting pattern evident on these charts pertaining to the time of day and day of week of those 3,153 suspended driving cases in 2013. You think there might be a link to alcohol?

By the way these are screen shots from CrimeView Dashboard, which allowed me to do this analysis in a matter of moments in my living room while sipping my first cup of coffee.


Matt Ashby said...

In England and Wales anyone caught driving without insurance can have their vehicle seized (whomever it belongs to) and the police routinely seize vehicles from anyone found without insurance. The vehicle owner can reclaim it within 14 days (if they can prove they're insured), but they have to pay a towing fee equivalent to about $150 and a daily storage fee of about $40. After 14 days any unclaimed vehicles are sold or crushed.

This is on top of the $300 fixed penalty and six points, which gets you half-way from a clean licence to being disqualified. If you're a new driver it's even worse because six points means you lose your licence and have to take your driving test again.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of confiscating the car. Along those lines, a huge amount of cash was confiscated recently, thought to be drug money. Is that kept by the police force? What a nice bonus that would be!!

Steve said...

As any regulars here would know, this is indeed one of my pet peeves. Confiscating the car would probably put a dent in the number of DUS cases. I'm not sure if or how confiscating a car that didn't belong to the driver would work. I suspect your stipulation that the owner would have to know the driver had no license would be an easy way out for many. Then, there would be those who could afford to lose a car now and then and would continue to drive regardless. Therefore, I don't think this is the only solution to the problem.

I know people will scream that we can't afford to put these offenders in jail, but can we afford not to? The whole point of taking their license away is that they have been deemed unsafe drivers, a danger to others. Many of them are just a fatal crash waiting to happen. Imagine how many times they probably drove (frequently drunk) without getting caught. We put convicted felons in jail for being in possession of a firearm because we consider them a danger to society. I'd bet there are more people killed by drunk drivers who didn't have a valid license than by convicted felons carrying firearms.

I think once a license has been suspended, one arrest for DUS should mean loss of the vehicle. A second arrest should result in significant jail time.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I always make sure to have a valid license.

Mike said...

I would much rather pay to keep someone like this away from society that someone who uses marijuana. I agree that more severe consequences need to be involved for repeat offenders.

Anonymous said...

I think if you check, forfeiture of an item used to commit a crime is the exception not the rule. Unless the item itself is contraband, it often is returned to the owner.

Tom Casady said...

By the way, while I am attracted to the idea of forfeiting the instrumentality of the crime (the car) for someone with several DUS convictions, I also realize this would not solve the problem: suspended drivers might just choose cheaper rides that they would be willing to walk away from, if caught.

I don't offer much of a solution: jail is expensive, and we (meaning taxpayers) seem to have a limited willingness to pay the piper for more "non-violent offenders" cooling their heels in the slammer with three hots and a cot, meds, eyeglasses, and dental work at our expense.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of DUS (and other offenses):


Tom Casady said...


A connoisseur of moonshine! You don't see that very much. I remember Barry Rogers and I arresting a drunk driver at 37th and Cornhusker who was sipping a giant economy sized bottle of Scope, however.