Dramatic Rise in SFPD Citations to Drivers Without Licenses

Photo: ##http://orangephotography.com/##Myleen Hollero/Orange Photography##

San Francisco police officers issued twice as many tickets to drivers operating without a license between January and May this year than they did for all of 2010, according to data from the SF Police Department (SFPD). The spike contrasts with an overall drop in traffic violations.

“I think it’s important to feel like there is active enforcement going on when people drive in a way that endangers other people,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe. “It’s good to be paying attention to these numbers.”

In the first five months of 2011, police issued 3,271 citations for driving without a license compared to 1,616 issued in 2010.

SFPD Captain Al Casciato, head of the Traffic Bureau, said he couldn’t explain the jump, and that officers haven’t been targeting license-less drivers. He suspected that there may be more drivers on the road with suspended licenses due to late payments in a tough economy, although suspended license violations are categorized separately in the data.

“Just off the top of my head, what I think it is is a lot more of these state agencies suspending licenses for failure to make payments – child support, welfare, court judgments,” he said.

Traffic citations citywide have declined by 18 percent, except for a few stations like Ingleside, which had a 55 percent increase this year and targeted drivers who violate pedestrian right-of-way in 2010.

Casciato attributes the decline to a shortage of officers on the road as well as more effective enforcement on dangerous arterials that could be coaxing drivers into better behavior.
  • sfnowthen

    The Ingleside increase was due to the ped stings they did that pulled in all the non-citizen drivers who don’t need to know the CVC rules or have insurance or any of the things required of other drivers.

    So of course the D11 and D9 supervisors started screaming it was racial profiling, that the cops were targeting specific races out at Mission/Highland, Mission/Geneva when all the police were doing was citing anyone who didn’t stop for their shill fwho steps into the crosswalk as they approach.

  • If there are twice as many tickets in the first 5 months than all of the previous year, that means the increase is actually over 4 times, not just double