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Licensed Undocumented Drivers Expected to Make California Roadways Safer

The McClellan Law Firm

The New Year brings a number of new laws to the state of California. From campus sexual consent laws to plastic bag bans, many of these new laws are designed to make California a better, safer place to live. That couldn't be more true of California Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60), also known as The Safe and Responsible Driver Act. AB 60 officially took effect on January 1, 2015.

The official title for AB 60 says a great deal about the core and intention of this legislation. Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013, AB 60 allows the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue driver's licenses to any state resident who is eligible to receive one, no matter what their immigration status may be. This means many undocumented immigrants became eligible to receive a valid driver's license under AB 60.

Here are a few key points about AB 60:

  • Applicants do not need to have proof of lawful presence to receive an AB 60 license - which can be used for all non-commercial licenses (Class C, motorcycles, and travel trailers or most RVs).
  • AB 60 licenses will be different than standard California driver's licenses and cannot be used for certain federal purposes, such as voting or receiving benefits.

With the implementation of AB 60, California joins nine other states and the District of Columbia in permitting undocumented immigrants the privilege of obtaining a driver's license. According to experts, this is a significant step toward improving safety on California roadways:

  • AB 60 license applicants will be required to take a written test and demonstrate they have sufficient knowledge of California traffic laws.
  • AB 60 license applicants must complete a behind-the-wheel test and prove that they can safely operate a vehicle on California roadways.
  • In order to obtain a license, applicants must show proof of insurance.

By ensuring that more drivers are properly trained, tested, and insured, AB 60 is expected to make California roadways safer. In San Diego, where there is a large population of documented and undocumented immigrants, AB 60 can have a large impact on public roadways. The DMV estimates that it will process as many as 1.4 million applicants for AB 60 licenses.