California Traffic Accident Study Illogically Cited to Justify Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens

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.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    I think they should have drivers licenses. I also believe that no one should be illegal and everyone should be allowed to come here unless they have been arrested. They are just like anybody else. They seriously could be your friends or your neighbors and honestly most you would never know we’re illegal.

  2. avatar

    Precisely, Mr Martin, it seems some very key factors were obviously ignored. If fleeing a scene is what is the norm in their country, then chances are it cannot be excised out of their consciousness. I fail too see the correlation or logic that issuing licenses will make illegals safer drivers.

    No, this country must stand united, state by state, and embrace a con census:under no circumstances are illegal aliens to be rewarded drivers licenses!

    I am not entirely opposed to some e form of tracking a d identification, and temporary/provisional drivers permits may just be the mechanism we need to fulfill that objective; law enforcement can utilize to solve pending accident claims as well as cold cases with thousands of new sets of fingerprints in their database. And, of course, this will be used with border control, as they will have access.

    As I said before, we will see repercussions, because now this once be lived illegal is being issued a document reserved for legal citizens. They assume culpability, in other words.

    It is, I believe, the lesser if two evils.

    This ought to be a directive from federal government ONLY. The provisional permit will not in any way shape or form serve as a pathway to citizenship nor construed as such.

    I encourage opponents of illegal immigration to address this concern if you haven’t already, with your city and state government. Pro-illegal legislation undermines our efforts and the country, on the whole, to deal with this rampant issue. Jan Brewer of Arizona along with other Governors are proof some leaders stand up for their citizens, and more importantly, federal laws.

    The fees for permits will not be set as US citizens either. Similar to a formula for foreign students attending college, they pay more for tuition, is feasible and worthy of consideration.

    Thank you for reading my thoughts.

  3. avatar

    It truly goes without saying that Californians would be much safer if we , our elected officials, can just grow a damn backbone. We already have state law that says no illegal shall be issued a drivers license, and yet, they ignore this law, enjoy the privilege of driving, regardless of the law. And they cheat the state, AGAIN, as they are the demographic who receives the most preferential treatment. Avoid local, state county tax,registration fees, smog fees,car insurance, and overall fiscal and moral responsibility that comes operating a motor vehicle. Fleeing the scene and being responsible for hit and runs are of course a concern of mine. But recently, it was learned our emergency civic servants are being impeded on the road, not getting to destinations on time. I have personally witnessed ambulances being sandwiched between cars of drivers who have no comprehension of road rules-illegals need to take public transportation until a mechanism is in place to address this issue. Also, the question of being issued a license is not so easy, as they ought to be able to both take written test in English and practical in English. Our signs are one language only. It should also be provisional only and to the few who can demonstrate fiscal responsibility and moral accountability. Photographed and fingerprinted.No exceptions. I pity Illinois, and the poor precedent that Governor is authoring. There will be ramifications for certain, just watch wait and see. Give them time. Suddenly, after decades of violating our borders and laws, they want us to believe they will play by rules. Hardly. These people are menaces on the road a d jeopardize our safety every day. I demanded for a mandate from Gov. But to no avail. Wake up and get involved people,

  4. avatar

    If illegal aliens are given drivers licenses, as my State, California is so vigorously trying to accomplish, it is the taxpayer who will foot the bill for insurance for alien drivers.

  5. avatar

    If they get a license, will they get insured? How can an illegal resident getvauto insurance. Seems like it would be expensive.