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Tow surcharge helps reduce injury collisions on city streets

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POSTED January 19, 2010 2:04 a.m.

If a Manteca Police officer orders your vehicle towed you’ll going to pay a lot more in the coming weeks to get your car back.

It is all part of an effort to reduce crime and injury accidents.

The City Council tonight is considering increasing the fee owners need to pay to get a towed vehicle released. It will go from $50 to $200. That is on top of impound and towing fees charged by the tow company,

It is among a number of police fees that are being proposed for adjustment after the council instructed various departments to recover costs where legally possible to help bridge the budget deficit. Police fees haven’t been reviewed for 10 years,

Not the entire $150 increase, though, is to cover the city’s cost. Twenty-five dollars is an administrative tow fee that is being set aside for the state. It will go to the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to further state goals of reducing fatal and injury traffic collisions caused by impaired or licensed drivers.

The city will easily get more in return than they collect from offenders.

The council tonight is also being asked to accept an $88,800 grant from the OTS. The money will be used to pay for officer overtime for DUI and license checkpoints, stakeout operations, court stings, warrant sweeps, and other enforcement operations. It will also help cover training and overhead costs.

A California Department of Motor Vehicles study reports that 33 percent of drivers with suspended and revoked licenses have a criminal record. Of those drivers, 85 percent of them used their vehicle in a commission of a crime. Drivers with suspended or revoked licenses were involved in four times more fatal collisions and six times more injury collisions as licensed drivers. In addition, drivers with suspended or revoked licenses experienced 11 times more DUI convictions than licensed drivers. The DMV research concludes that impounding vehicles not only strengthens license actions but also significantly increases traffic safety.

The numbers of collisions have been steadily dropping in Manteca after the city implemented the OTS grant programs.

In 2005 there were 222 injury collusions that hurt 307 people. In 2006, the number of injury accidents dropped to 208 although the number of victims climbed slightly to 314. In 2007, the number of injury collisions fell again to 156 with the number of victims injured dropping to 226.



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