Recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law that will allow illegal immigrants in the state to get driver's licenses. This is a controversial move as many people feel that people who are in the Country illegally should not get any rights.
The law will go into effect at least before January 1, 2015 and will give undocumented immigrants the option to obtain licenses from the California Department of Motor Vehicle if they can:
- Prove their identities
- Show they have an established residence in California
- Pass a California State driving test
It is believed that having a license is essential in order to work and live in the state. Police also feel that licensed drivers will be more likely to stop after they've caused an accident. Cities like Fresno have noticed an increasing number of hot and run crimes in the past years which they believe is caused by undocumented workers who flee the scene because they do not want to get charged for driving without a license.
Increased drivers will also mean increased traffic violations and DUI arrests. The more licensed drivers on the road, the higher the number of DUIs and car crashes. Many of these undocumented drivers, however, are believed to already be driving without licenses. In fact, many sobriety checkpoints in California actually end up catching more people diving without a license than people driving under the influence. By giving these drivers the right to be one the road, police are free to enforce other laws and not have to waste time impounding vehicles of safe drivers who just happen to be unlicensed.
On the other hand, many U.S. citizens do not think it is fair to give illegals the right to drive especially those that are already breaking the law by driving without licenses. It will be interesting to see how this new law affects DUI and other traffic safety statistics in the coming years.