Unlicensed Drivers Disproportionately Involved In Fatal Crashes
January 17, 2013

Unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash than drivers with valid licenses, according to a recent study from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It could help inform the ongoing debate in many states about whether to offer drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

The study looked at fatal crashes in California over a 23-year period and found unlicensed drivers and those who’ve had their licenses suspended or revoked were consistently more likely to be at fault in fatal crashes.

The data comes at a time when several states are considering reforming their laws regarding driver’s licenses for undocumented residents. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez wants to repeal that state’s law allowing illegal immigrants to get licenses on the basis that it harms public safety.

In California, a law signed last year now allows licenses for undocumented youth who get work permits under the Obama administration’s deferred action policy.

Some California politicians want to expand on that law. State Assemblyman Luis Alejo of Salinas has introduced a bill that would allow all undocumented immigrants in California to apply for drivers' licenses if they can prove they pay taxes.