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Should California Grant Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants?

Undocumented immigrants living in California are unable to obtain a driver's license, which makes it difficult for accident victims to pursue their rights after a crash.

2013-01-31
January 31, 2013 (Press-News.org) Should California grant driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants?

Whatever your position on the issue, there is no denying that undocumented immigrants make up a significant portion of California's population. Like other Californians, many of these immigrants need to drive in order to run errands, take their children to school or go to work. However, because they are residing in the United States illegally, they are not eligible to get driver's licenses.

Increasingly, many legislators and safety advocates in California are becoming concerned that these unlicensed drivers are putting others on the road at risk of being involved in a dangerous car accident. As a solution, they propose allowing undocumented immigrants to become legally licensed drivers. Opponents to this idea, though, worry about granting this privilege to people who aren't technically supposed to be in the country. To them, granting driver's licenses seems like a tacit acceptance of unlawful immigration.

A new report on unlicensed drivers from the California Department of Motor Vehicles is adding fuel to the debate. That report shows that there are approximately 2 million unlicensed drivers in the state of California, the majority of whom are undocumented immigrants. The report further revealed that unlicensed drivers approximately three times more likely than licensed drivers to cause a fatal car accident. The DMV suggested requiring these unlicensed drivers to meet the basic thresholds of the state's written exam and driving test could greatly reduce the number of wrongful deaths on California roads.

Increased licensure could improve safety

An increase in licensed drivers may make it easier for injured California car accident victims to protect their rights after a crash. Data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that unlicensed drivers are much more likely to flee from the scene of a crash than licensed drivers are. Often, the fear of criminal charges or immigration actions prevents people from staying and taking responsibility for an accident.

More widespread licensing could also increase the chances of being able to recover personal injury damages after a serious accident. Unlicensed drivers do not usually carry auto insurance, which means victims need to rely on their own policies when accidents happen. State data shows that accidents caused by uninsured drivers in California cost insurers approximately $634 million in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

California uninsured motorist accidents

Californians who are injured in accidents caused by uninsured drivers should be aware that they may have a right to recover benefits despite the fact that the at-fault driver was not carrying insurance.

Although the law does not require it, California drivers have the option to purchase uninsured motorist insurance, which provides personal injury and property damage coverage in the event that the insured is hit by an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist coverage will also sometimes provide benefits in the event of a hit-and-run accident.

Uninsured motorist benefits aren't guaranteed, though, so it is important for accident victims to work with an experienced personal injury attorney in the aftermath of a serious car accident. The attorney will be able to evaluate and investigate the case to help ensure that the victim is treated fairly by the insurance company.

Article provided by Law Offices of Carcione, Cattermole, Dolinski, Stucky, Markowitz & Carcione
Visit us at http://www.carcionelaw.com


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[Press-News.org] Should California Grant Driver's Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants?
Undocumented immigrants living in California are unable to obtain a driver's license, which makes it difficult for accident victims to pursue their rights after a crash.