ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Police in California will soon stop towing cars from unlicensed drivers at sobriety checkpoints.
A state law that takes effect Jan. 1 is a major victory for advocates who say the vehicle impounds enrich cities and towing companies at the expense of illegal immigrants. Like most states, California denies drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. Under the new law, they will get to keep their cars if stopped at the checkpoints as long as they are sober and can find a licensed driver.
The tows have been controversial in California, which allows police to impound vehicles for up to 30 days. That can easily rack up fees topping $1,000. Many unlicensed drivers surrender their vehicles to towing companies, who auction them off.