There's a proposal floating around the halls of the state legislature that would allow county officials to seize the vehicles of drivers caught driving with a suspended or revoked license. Although not a total solution, I strongly endorse this measure and would hope it gains widespread support.
Day after day in the court news in this newspaper are names of people caught driving with a suspended or revoked license. On all too many occasions these drivers have been arrested before for the same offense. They pay a fine and serve a suspended sentence and perhaps unsupervised probation. But that doesn't address the problem.
In the most recent statistics, 3,396 fatal wrecks in 2000 were caused by drivers behind the wheel with a suspended or revoked license. The proposal being discussed would allow county officials to seize their vehicles and, in some cases, sell them with the proceeds going to education.
If I had my way, I would throw these rascals in jail when they are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license. But our jails are overcrowded currently with drug cases and the cost may well be prohibitive. And taking their cars will not stop them from borrowing another vehicle. I recognize that.
But we must do something to remove suspended or revoked drivers off the roadways. And we should look at any viable solution available.
Currently in Missouri the city of Springfield is the only municipality with the authority to seize these vehicles. Over the past decade Springfield has sold 174 vehicles of revoked drivers and given that money to the school system. That opportunity should be made available throughout the state.
We play a tough game in society on drug offenders but we turn our heads when it comes to drunk drivers and those driving with suspended or revoked licenses. It's time we change our approach and reduce the fatalities caused by these criminals.