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Undocumented Immigrants And Driver's Licenses

Craig McClellan

Obtaining a driver's license is not proof that a driver will always put safety first. Licensed and unlicensed drivers cause accidents through careless or negligent acts, including speeding, drinking and driving and distracted driving. The process of getting a driver's license does, however, improve the odds that a driver will know the basic rules of California roads and will be aware of what it takes to drive safely. Reducing the number of car accidents is one of the goals of the Safe and Responsible Driver Act. That act passed recently and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last week. It allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver's license and drive legally. California is the 10th state to pass such legislation.

In addition to allowing undocumented persons to get a license, the law allows them to buy car insurance. Uninsured drivers can leave the victims of a car accident with fewer options in obtaining proper compensation for their injuries. The process of getting a license includes driver training and gaining knowledge of the rules of California roads. The law will hopefully result in a greater percentage of cars on the road being operated by properly trained and insured drivers.

The law could impact an estimated 2 million undocumented immigrants. It could allow countless people who have been driving illegally, and in fear of reprisal, to drive under safer conditions. It may also assist in reducing California's rate of hit and run accidents. Unlicensed drivers may flee the scene of an accident in an attempt to avoid criminal penalties. Every driver on the road should be concerned primarily with safe driving. This law may help to make that a reality.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, " ERNIE GUTIERREZ: Safe and Responsible Driver Act benefits all Californians," by Ernie Gutierrez, 6 October 2013