The HuffPost ran a story about a year ago titled: ” California Roads got safer when undocumented immigrants got driver’s licenses.” Although the story is a year old (I just happened upon it today) it is still relevant. (I understand that California just issued its one millionth license to an undocumented immigrant earlier this year.)
The article states that “fewer hit-and-run accidents plagued California after the state began issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants two years ago.”
“Stanford University researchers found an estimated 4,000 fewer hit-and-runs in 2015, the first year the licensing program went into effect. That’s a 7 percent drop, even though some 600,000 immigrant drivers obtained licenses under the AB60 law that year.”
The number of fatalities and auto accidents remained stable from 2014 to 2015 according to the Stanford report. This could reassure critics of the law who believed that the these numbers would increase if undocumented immigrants were allowed to obtain their licenses. (Although it was widely thought that many undocumented immigrants were already driving–just without the training that goes into obtaining a driver’s license.)
“Fewer hit-and-runs offer other public benefits. Injured victims may receive life-saving medical treatment more quickly if drivers call 911 rather than speeding off to protect themselves, researchers said.”
Critics of the law argue that it is wrong to allow undocumented immigrants, who have entered the U.S. without inspection, obtain the benefits of having a driver’s license. However, it appears to be in the public interest to allow undocumented immigrants to study for and obtain driver’s licenses. The law has made California roads and highways safer. That should be good news for anyone who uses the roads or highways in California.
As of last year 11 other U.S. States and the District of Columbia have similar laws.
Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Attorney with over 20 years of experience handling Immigration cases. He may be reached at 916-760-7270