Here’s a good idea that’s sure to be dragged behind the figurative car for a bit before it’s resolved: According to the Morning News and WFAA-TV, councilman Mitch Rasansky has suggested in writing to Mayor Tom Leppert that Dallas police be empowered to immediately impound cars found to be driven by people who can’t produce proof of insurance. Fellow councilmen signing the memo were Jerry Allen, Sheffie Kadane, Linda Koop and Ron Natinsky — enough signatories that the News says automatically requires council discussion of the idea.

"We need to send a message that this is not acceptable," Rasansky told the News.

Councilman Tennell Atkins promptly opposed the plan, saying that people might simply have forgotten their proof of insurance at home (despite that fact that we’re all legally required to carry that insurance proof with us at all times while operating the vehicle); Atkins also told the News he was concerned about leaving someone without a car in the event of an emergency.

Bottom line: This type of punishment is perceived to discriminate against people who can’t afford to buy insurance, disenfranchising them from something (their car) they need to survive. Never mind, of course, that the law requires insurance and that we all pay for it through higher insurance rates every time an uninsured motorist becomes involved in an accident.

The other potential problems: Enforcement will undoubtedly require an enormous amount of police time to impound the vehicles and ensure that offenders aren’t automatically just dumped in the street. Envision, if you will, a family with a couple of small kids/toddlers driving an uninsured vehicle; the vehicle is impounded, the family dumped on the side of the road, and then something happens to the kids — that’s not going to play very well in the media, and it’s not the humane or appropriate way to handle the situation, so there has to be a plan to deal with that eventuality.

But Rasansky is on the right track here. We’re already spending a huge amount of public subsidy money on DART these days; people who can’t afford to insure their vehicles do have an option, and it’s not a bad one. Sure, it may take someone whose vehicle is impounded a little longer to get to work on DART, but he or she will simply have a little extra time each day to think about how his or her life would be a little easier had he or she decided to follow the law instead. Maybe that temporary punishment will be incentive-enough not to make the same mistake again.