Driving under the influence. Illegal lane change. Driving without a license (twice). Driving with false plates. Failure to show proof of insurance.
These are charges filed against unlicensed, illegal immigrant Daniel Barrales, since August 2007. Yet, on Saturday, October 5, 2008 Daniel Barrales was behind the wheel again without a license. And this time, he sent three victims to the hospital, including his 24 year old sister-in-law, his 3 year old niece, and his 5 month old nephew.
Fortunately, this time the injuries were not fatal.
Incredibly, this is a scenario that is played out time and time again, on our roadways in Colorado.
Consider these national statistics for 2001-2005 from the AAA Foundation involving driver who are definitely or possibly driving with an invalid or no license:
Nearly 7,700 fatal crashes every year-one of every five fatal crashes-involve a driver who is definitely or possibly driving with an invalid license or no license.
Over 8,000 drivers involved in fatal crashes annually-nearly one of every seven drivers involved in fatal crashes-have an invalid license, no license, or unknown license status (possibly invalid or unlicensed).
Nearly 7,000 drivers involved in fatal crashes every year (11.9 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes) have had their license suspended or revoked at least once in the preceding three years, including over 1,700 who have had their licenses suspended or revoked three or more times, and about 100 whose licenses have been suspended or revoked ten or more times.
Although strategies are identified to keep unlicensed drivers off the road, including increasing enforcement in selected areas, creating and distributing “hot sheets’, impounding license plates, impounding vehicles, installing an ignition interlock device, monitoring electronically, providing alternative transportation services and incarceration, these drivers continue to thumb their noses at the Colorado legal system and jepordize the safety of those of us who unknowingly share the road.
Barrales is now facing immigration issues, in addition to charges of careless driving resulting in injury and driving without a license. But, will it be enough to keep him from operating a motor vehicle in the future? Let’s hope so.