VEHICLE SANCTIONS MODEL
"The Safe Streets Act"
The National Committee On Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances
The Legislature finds and declares the following:
1) taking possession of the vehicle as provided in state or local impoundment procedures;
(2) immobilizing the vehicle on private property designated by the vehicle owner by any method approved by the Department;
(3) or taking possession of the vehicles registration and tags.
(b) A motor vehicle is subject to immobilization for (30) days if it is driven on a highway in this state by a driver:
(ii) who is driving in violation of the terms of a restricted license imposed as a condition of reinstatement of a suspended or revoked license under [insert reference to states DUI and/or DWI law 2];
(c) A motor vehicle is subject to immobilization for (60) days if it is driven on a highway in this state by a driver:
3 years under [insert reference to states DUI and/ or DWI law ]; or
(ii) who is driving in violation of the terms of a restricted license imposed as a condition of reinstatement of a license suspended or revoked for the second time within the previous [five]3 years under [insert reference to states DUI and/or DWI law ];
(d) Notwithstanding subsections (b) and (c), with the written consent of the registered owner(s) a vehicle immobilized pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) may be released with an installed compulsory ignition interlock system meeting the requirements of section (2), for the period of time specified for vehicle immobilization, to any person who:
(1) demonstrates that he or she:
Section 2 - Certification of Ignition interlock systems
(a) The [Department of Motor Vehicles]4 shall certify or cause to be certified vehicle ignition interlock devices required by this Act, publish a list of approved devices, and conduct or regulate the operation of a vehicle ignition interlock program, including imposing charges on the motorist for compulsory system installation and monitoring.
(b) No model of vehicle ignition interlock device shall be certified unless it meets the accuracy requirements and specifications provided in the guidelines adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
(c) The [Department of Motor Vehicles] shall utilize information from an independent laboratory to certify ignition interlock devices on or off the premises of the manufacturer or manufacturer's agent, in accordance with the guidelines. The cost of certification shall be borne by the manufacturers of interlock ignition devices. If the certification of a device is suspended or revoked, the manufacturer of the device shall be responsible for, and shall bear the cost of the removal of the device and the replacement of a certified device of the manufacturer or another manufacturer.
(d) All manufacturers of vehicle ignition interlock devices that meet the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and are certified in a manner approved by the [Department of Motor Vehicles], who intend to market the devices in this state, first shall apply to the [Department of Motor Vehicles] on forms provided by that department. The application shall be accompanied by a fee in an amount not to exceed the amount necessary to cover the costs incurred by the [Department of Motor Vehicles] in carrying out this section.
(e) The [Department of Motor Vehicles] shall ensure that standard forms and procedures are developed for documenting decisions and compliance, and communicating results to relevant agencies and parties.
(f) The [Department of Motor Vehicles] may delegate a private contractor to act as the agent of the state in carrying out any of the requirements of this section.
Section 3 - Use of a Vehicle by an Unlicensed Driver: Owners Duty
No owner of a motor vehicle may knowingly allow another person to drive the vehicle upon a highway unless the owner determines that the person possesses a valid drivers license that authorizes the person to operate the vehicle. For purposes of this section, an owner is required only to make a reasonable effort or inquiry to determine whether the prospective driver possesses a valid drivers license before allowing him or her to operate the owners vehicle. An owner is not required to inquire of the department whether the prospective driver possesses a valid drivers license.
Section 4 - Immobilization Exceptions and Safeguards
(a) If a driver is unable to produce a valid drivers license on the demand of a police officer enforcing the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Code, the vehicle may be immobilized for up to thirty days, regardless of ownership, unless the police officer is reasonably able, by other means, to verify that the driver is properly licensed. Prior to immobilizing a vehicle, a police officer shall attempt to verify the license status of a driver who claims to be properly licensed but is unable to produce the license on demand of the police officer.
(b) A police officer shall not immobilize a vehicle pursuant to this section if the license of the driver expired within the preceding 30 days and the driver otherwise would have been properly licensed.
(c) A police officer may exercise discretion in a situation where the driver without a valid license is an employee in the course of employment driving a vehicle registered to the employer. A police officer also may exercise discretion in a situation where the driver without a valid license is the employee of a bona fide business establishment or is a person otherwise controlled by such an establishment and it reasonably appears that an owner of the vehicle, or an agent of the owner, relinquished possession of the vehicle to the business establishment solely for servicing or parking of the vehicle or other reasonably similar situations, and where the vehicle was not to be driven except as directly necessary to accomplish that business purpose. In that event, if the vehicle can be returned to or be retrieved by the business establishment or registered owner, the police officer may release and not immobilize the vehicle.
(d) If the driver of a vehicle immobilized pursuant to subsection (a) was a registered owner of the vehicle at the time of impoundment, the impounding agency shall authorize release of the vehicle if, within three days of such immobilization, the driver of the vehicle at the time of immobilization presents his or her valid drivers license, including a valid temporary drivers license or permit, to the responsible agency. The vehicle shall then be released to a registered owner of record at the time of immobilization, or an agent of that owner authorized in writing, upon payment of towing and storage charges related to the immobilization, and any reasonable administrative charges, providing that the person claiming the vehicle is properly licensed and the vehicle is properly registered.
Section 5 - Consumer Protection
(a) A vehicle immobilized pursuant to the circumstances described in subsection 4 (c) shall be released to a registered owner whether or not the driver of the vehicle at the time of such immobilization presented a valid drivers license. No processing charges shall be imposed on such registered owner if he or she properly redeems the vehicle within 15 days of its immobilization.
(b) Any owner of a vehicle who suffers any loss due to vehicle immobilization may recover the amount of the loss from the culpable driver whose actions caused the immobilization. If possession of a vehicle has been tendered to a business establishment in good faith, and an unlicensed, suspended or revoked driver employed or otherwise directed by that business establishment committed the violation which caused the vehicle to be immobilized, a registered owner of the vehicle may recover damages for the loss of use of the vehicle from the business establishment.
(c) Within 10 days of a vehicle immobilization, a registered or legal owner of record at the time the vehicle was immobilized may request a hearing to determine the validity of that vehicle immobilization.
(1) The responsible agency, if requested to do so not later than 10 days after the date the vehicle was immobilized, shall provide the opportunity for a hearing to determine the validity of the vehicle immobilization, to the persons who were the registered or legal owners of the vehicle at the time of its immobilization.
(2) The post immobilization hearing shall be conducted not later than two days after the date it was requested. The responsible agency may authorize its own officer or employee to conduct the hearing if the hearing officer is not the same person who directed the storage of the vehicle. Failure of either the registered or legal owner to request a hearing as provided in paragraph (1) or to attend a scheduled hearing shall satisfy the post immobilization hearing requirement.
(3) The responsible agency employing the person who directed the vehicle immobilization is responsible for all costs incurred for any towing, storage or administrative charges if it is determined that the vehicle was improperly immobilized.
(4 ) Towing and storage charges for any vehicle immobilized pursuant to this Act shall not exceed the normal towing and storage rates for other vehicle towing and storage conducted by the towing company or agency in the normal course of business.
(5) The burden of proof in the hearing shall be on the immobilizing agency, by a preponderance of the evidence. All questions that may arise shall be decided and all other proceedings shall be conducted as in an ordinary civil action. A judgment upholding vehicle immobilization does not require as a condition precedent the conviction of a defendant for the offense which made the vehicle subject to immobilization.
Section 6 - Disposition of Abandoned Vehicles
Any immobilized vehicle unclaimed under this Act which is determined to be abandoned under the laws of this state may be disposed of at the discretion of the [Department of Motor Vehicles].
Section 7 - Administration
(a) The [Department of Motor Vehicles] may prescribe standard forms and procedures for implementation of ths Act to be used by jurisdictions throughout the state.
(b) In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by this Act, if the time period to be computed is 15 days or less, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays shall not be counted. If the time period to be computed is greater than 15 days, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays shall be counted.5
__________________________________________________________1 This model is a "plug-in" model incorporating provisions essential to address the serious problem of repeat DWI or DUI offenders and motorists who drive while suspended or revoked. It does not include many of the basic underlying motor vehicle provisions, such as provisions stipulating the criteria for suspending or revoking the license or the definition of driving while intoxicated or impaired, which are essential to enactment of this model law but typically already have been enacted by states. Consequently, when implementing this law, states should coordinate the provisions of this model law with their statutes concerning driving while intoxicated or impaired, license suspension or revocation, and other pertinent provisions.
3 Drafters' Recommendation: Drafters recommend five years, since research seems to indicate that this is the most common duration; however, states should adjust to reflect their recordkeeping needs and duration.
5 - States should review their existing notice requirements for license suspension and revocation actions to determine if they are sufficient under the due process requirements of federal and state law for vehicle immobilization under this Act. The following is a suggested notice provision states may wish to consider:
(Optional) Section 8 - Notice of License suspension or revocation
(a) It shall be conclusively presumed that a person has knowledge of the suspension or revocation if notice has been sent by certified mail by the department to the most recent address officially reported by the person pursuant to procedures established by the department, and the return receipt has been signed and returned to the department. It is the responsibility of every license holder to report changes of address to the department within [10 days]6 of the change of address.
(b) (i) In the event the certified mail is not delivered, the department shall attempt to provide personal service by using a process server for service of any person whose driving privilege was suspended or revoked.
(ii) At the time of license reinstatement, the department shall recover an amount equal to its total cost of providing notices pursuant to this subsection, in addition to any fines or fees otherwise authorized by law.
6 Generally speaking, the number of days allowed for specified actions is bracketed to indicate that states can choose different time frames. However, to allow mail notifications required by the statute to be sent to the correct address of the license holder, the 10 day change of address notice requirement should not be lengthened.