The Los Angeles Times reported on January 15 () on the claims of proponents of driver’s licenses (DLs) for illegal aliens. That study, conducted by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is being cited by proponents as evidence that driving would be safer in the state if illegal aliens had licenses. It seems that the newspaper did not read the report or even think critically about the claims of the advocates.
While it is accurate that the DMV report found that “…unlicensed drivers are much more hazardous on the road than are validly licensed drivers,” – three times more likely to cause a fatal crash – that is a far cry from concluding that driving would be safer if they had licenses. Factors that accompany accidents, such driving while intoxicated and lack of driving experience are not going to change just because an illegal alien driver has a license. Rather, the availability of a license is likely to simply increase the likelihood that an illegal alien will be on the road.
The L.A. Times report also notes the argument offered by advocates of licenses for illegal aliens that the aliens are more likely to flee the scene of an accident if they do not have a license. That argument ignores the fact that being illegally in the country is likely the primary motivator of fleeing the scene. It also ignores that in Mexico if someone is injured in an accident the driver who caused the accident is thrown in jail while the accident is being investigated. That is probably a significant contributing factor to the high incidence of hit and run cases in Mexico – a practice that may trigger a similar response if the accident is in the United States.
The DMV study is a logical framework for concluding that Californians would be safer driving in the future if illegal aliens were better kept off the road rather than encouraging more of them to drive.