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New state law may increase auto accidents
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Manteca Police were among the law enforcement agencies that would impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers when they were pulled over for other infractions.

That’s no longer the case.

A change in the state law earlier this year makes it illegal for any law enforcement agency to do so.

And that has Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker convinced there is a good chance accident rates will increase in the coming months in Manteca.

The law change was prompted by lawmakers concerned it was unfairly targeting illegals who don’t obtain driver’s licenses for obvious reasons. In doing so, it gives all of those driving without a valid license a pass unless they have had their license revoked.

The American Automobile Association study dubbed “Unlicensed to Kill” tends to support Bricker’s fears.

The AAA study showed that:

• About 20 percent of all fatal crashes involved an unlicensed driver.

• Some 5 percent of all fatal accidents involved a driver with a revoked license.

• Unlicensed drivers are 4.9 times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than licensed drivers while drivers with suspended licenses are 3.7 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

The AAA recommended that states establish vehicle impoundment, seizure, and immobilization programs for those drivers police pull over who are unlicensed.

Bricker noted that the department continues to impound vehicles of those driving on suspended licenses.

Backers of the law change argued that it unfairly targeted illegals that had no choice but to drive without a license.