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House panel to debate towing cars of unlicensed drivers

Posted April 17

— A state House committee this week will debate a proposal to require vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers to be towed away from a traffic stop unless a licensed driver can be quickly found to drive the car away.

House Bill 341, sponsored by Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary I Committee on Wednesday.

Under the proposal, any driver found at a traffic stop to be driving on a suspended, revoked or expired license or having no license at all would not be allowed to drive his or her vehicle away after being charged. The driver would have one hour to produce a licensed driver who can legally drive the car away. If that's not possible, the car would be towed and impounded.

The owner of the vehicle would be able to reclaim it by bringing a valid driver's license and, if the owner didn't know the driver was unlicensed, a written acknowledgement to that effect, and would have to pay all towing fees and storage fees of no more than $10 per day. If the vehicle isn't reclaimed within 90 days, the tow service operator would be free to dispose of it.

An early version of the measure did not include drivers whose licenses have been revoked, but Cleveland told WRAL News that that was an oversight and that he intends to add that provision at the bill's next hearing.

The proposal has been denounced as "anti-immigrant" by immigrants' rights activists, who say it's intended to target undocumented immigrants who are not permitted to get driver's licenses. However, the likely effect of the bill would reach far beyond the immigrant community. In fiscal year 2015-16, law enforcement agencies around the state reported issuing more than 125,000 citations for driving with a revoked license.

The measure is the third of a trio filed by Cleveland this session. Another measure, House Bill 308, would similarly require the towing of cars of drivers who don't have valid insurance. That bill passed the House Insurance Committee last week.

A third measure, House Bill 471, which was approved by the House Judiciary II Committee last week, would add a $400 fine for a second charge of driving without a license. On the third charge for that offense, the driver would forfeit his or her vehicle to law enforcement.

11 Comments

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  • Pete Knowles Apr 19, 6:25 a.m.
    user avatar

    George Orwell, obviously you have led a sheltered life. I guess you've never been to parts of Appalachia, areas of Mississippi, or many deep urban areas that are rife with what you call "extreme poverty".

  • Terri Moss Apr 18, 1:00 p.m.
    user avatar

    "The proposal has been denounced as "anti-immigrant" by immigrants' rights activists, who say it's intended to target undocumented immigrants who are not permitted to get driver's licenses. However, the likely effect of the bill would reach far beyond the immigrant community. "
    Driving without a license is against the law, no matter whether you're an immigrant or citizen...this is common sense and should have been done a long time ago. How many times do we hear about a serious accident where the driver was unlicensed??? Let's try to prevent some of that!!!

  • Terri Moss Apr 18, 1:00 p.m.
    user avatar

    "The proposal has been denounced as "anti-immigrant" by immigrants' rights activists, who say it's intended to target undocumented immigrants who are not permitted to get driver's licenses. However, the likely effect of the bill would reach far beyond the immigrant community. "
    Driving without a license is against the law, no matter whether you're an immigrant or citizen...this is common sense and should have been done a long time ago. How many times do we hear about a serious accident where the driver was unlicensed??? Let's try to prevent some of that!!!

  • Steve Fitzpatrick Apr 18, 10:58 a.m.
    user avatar

    I Agree with all except Drivers with expired licenses should get a pass....

  • Henry Cooper Apr 18, 10:51 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    It may be that staffers/lawyers do the actual writing but that just demonstrates how disconnected the politicians are. They put their name to something that will be part of our governing laws and don't read it? Putting effective and accurate laws on the books is their responsibility is it not?

    As far as poverty, geez really, you don't think there are kids starving in this country? Living in squalor? It may be for diff reasons but the results to the kids are the same. Statistics on sites like feedingamerica.org are just fake news I guess.

  • Ronald Woodard Apr 18, 10:02 a.m.
    user avatar

    So-called immigrant rights activists are being dishonest because these activists are actually for special rights for illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants already have rights and will be unaffected by H.B. 341. The only people targeted by H.B. 341 are law breakers.

  • Jim Dunn Apr 18, 9:28 a.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Your statement doesn't make much sense. It's staffers and lawyers who write these bills. The representatives come up with the ideas sometimes but mostly just promote them.

    And there is no extreme poverty in NC or the USA for that matter. Travel to the Africa, Philippines or southeast Asia if you want to see extreme poverty. The poor in America have it better than the vast majority of the poor of the world.

  • Charles Williams Apr 18, 8:57 a.m.
    user avatar

    About time. How is this anti immigrant? Anti illegal immigrant I hope. They should not be on that road without a license. Who in their right mind condones this? While you're at it, at a traffic stop, you need to be making certain they are here legally. Stop being a sanctuary state.

  • Henry Cooper Apr 18, 7:54 a.m.
    user avatar

    Rep. George Cleveland is a piece of work. He is the Rep. that in 2012 said "no one in the state of North Carolina living in extreme poverty" when talking about schools.

    And what a bang up job they did the earlier version leaving out folks with revoked licenses. Seem they should be the first ones that come to mind. If I executed in this manner at my job I would be unqualified and let go.

    Our leadership... smh...

    Wonder if he has any monetary interest in a towing business....

  • Nicolle Leney Apr 17, 7:35 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    I have to agree. I actually thought this was already the law. Maybe it depends on the state.

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