Drivers Licenses for All Illinois Motorists

PCG has recently become a part of the Safety First Coalition, a broad and diverse coalition of community organizations, faith groups, law enforcement, health care providers, labor, and private businesses that all support the effort to get drivers licenses for all Illinois motorists. The hope is to pass legislation during this upcoming veto session (November 27th-29th and December 4th-6th).

Illinois law requires anyone applying for a drivers license to provide a social security number (SSN). This means that the 250,000 Illinois immigrant motorists who cannot get SSNs are also not able to get drivers licenses, despite the fact that they need to drive to support their families, run basic errands, and get to and from work. Without a license, these drivers are also unable to get insurance. Unlicensed, uninsured drivers are involved in 79,600 accidents each year, totaling $660 million in damage claims. By providing a way for immigrant motorists to obey the drivers license law, we can ensure that everyone is safer. Drivers will be required to take driving skills tests and purchase insurance.

This is common sense legislation — by ensuring that all drivers obtain drivers licenses we make the roads safer for all and enable everyone to be contributing members of society. The courts and jails will be less burdened by cases of drivers who are there solely because they were driving without a license or insurance, and in other states this type of legislation has helped to reduce the number of accidents involving uninsured motorists. Data suggests that if even half of the 250,000 Illinois drivers get licenses and insurance, premiums for all Illinois drivers could drop by $48 per policy.

Other states that have enabled immigrants to get licenses saw significant reductions in the number of accidents involving uninsured motorists. In New Mexico, the number of uninsured drivers fell from 33% to 9%. People want to obey the laws, let’s ensure they have the ability to do so.

For PCG, this legislation is about doing what’s moral and what’s safe. In much of this state, being able to work and support one’s family means needing to be able to drive from place to place. Helping people get a license not only ensures that they know how to drive safely (through passing a written test and a road test), it also enables them to get insurance to financially protect themselves and others on the road if accidents do occur.

We have signed on to support this campaign and are hopeful that legislation will move during the veto session. While there is not yet a specific bill number, we urge you to call your state representative and state senator to let them know that you want to support safety highway and drivers licenses for all. Let them know that this issue is supported by law enforcement, insurance agencies, labor, and many community organizations. We are all unified in our commitment to supporting families and ensuring public safety for all those who live in Illinois.

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