Beginning Sunday, cops will no longer impound cars the first time drivers are pulled over without a license.
The reason: Many such drivers are in the United States illegally - and thus unable to get a license - and the officials pushing the change think that impounding their cars is an unfair hardship.
Instead, unlicensed drivers will be given 20 minutes to phone a relative or other acquaintance with a valid license and insurance to pick up the car. If the driver doesn't have a cell phone, police will help him contact someone.
If no one shows up, then the cop is to call a supervisor to approve the tow.
A second offense within six months means an automatic tow. But, for those who stay clean for half a year, the clock starts over.
Recently installed Police Chief George Gascón said San Francisco is "trying to be sensitive to all of the communities we serve."
"We recognize that this is a problem within the Hispanic community, where people working here can't get a driver's license because of their immigration status," Gascón said.
The 30-day car impounds have long been a sore point with the city's Latino politicos and activists, who feel the practice is unfair.