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Should California Extend Driving Privileges to Undocumented Immigrants?

Law enforcement and political leaders in Los Angeles, California are currently speaking out in favor of providing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, explains an auto accident lawyer in Orange County. Their position is based on statistics regarding hit-and-run accidents in California and their belief that a change in the law would help to make the streets safer. 

In an effort to help combat the problem of hit-and-run accidents and make driving in California safer, law enforcement and politicians have put forth the idea of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. The belief is that by doing so the number of unlicensed drivers on the road will be reduced. 

Many of those who have spoken out in support of providing licenses to undocumented immigrants have indicated that this is a safety issue, rather than an immigration issue. By allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license, they will be put through the same road testing standards as citizens. This will help to ensure that they are familiar with the rules of the road and can drive with a reasonable level of competence. 

There are both pros and cons to providing licenses for undocumented immigrants, explains an auto accident attorney in Orange County. Some detractors of the idea believe that this is just one more step towards legitimizing the status of people who entered the country illegally. 

An argument could also be made that this won't really make the streets safer anyway. After all, if people were willing to break the law to enter the country and were willing to drive without a license before, it is unlikely that their behavior would change simply because the chance to get a license was made available to them. 

In addition, someone who has no legal immigration status could very well still be frightened about involvement in an accident, and resulting involvement with law enforcement, even with a driver's license. A person fearful of being deported due to illegal status would not necessarily be protected from consequences of the illegal immigration simply by the fact of having a California driver’s license; being involved in an accident could still draw unwanted attention from immigration officials. If someone is fearful of this occurring, he or she is no more likely to call the police after an accident just because a driver's license is in his or her pocket. 

On the other hand, if even a portion of the illegal immigrants currently driving without a license decided to obtain a license from the DMV, this would reduce the number of unlicensed drivers on the road and could also reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road. Those who choose to obtain a license would likely be law abiding citizens who would also be more likely to take the risk and call the police after an accident once they did have a proper license and insurance to provide a measure of protection. As such, the number of truly dangerous, unlicensed, uninsured drivers likely to hit and run could decrease. While not a perfect solution, this could thus still have the potential to make the roadways in California a safer place.     

Additional information on this and other traffic safety and legal subjects, including books and articles on the process of pursuing an injury or a wrongful death claim after an auto accident, is available to the public free of charge through our office.

To request one of these free resources, or to speak with an auto accident lawyer in Orange County, feel free to call 866-981-5596. 

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