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Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Could Make Roads Safer

Photo by Robbie via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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When it comes to granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles has recently released a report that could be interpreted as suggesting doing so could contribute to increased road safety.

The DMV conducted a study that reviewed 23 years of data on fatal accidents,according to the L.A. Times, which reports that the study found that "unlicensed drivers in California — the vast majority of whom are illegal immigrants — are nearly three times as likely to cause a fatal crash as licensed drivers."

Therefore, testing and licensing illegal immigrants for driving could lessen the frequency of fatal crashes in the state. (Ed. note: The DMV reached out to us to point out their study did not look specifically at illegal immigrants as a segment of the population of unlicensed drivers, and we have adjusted our story accordingly.)

While immigrants' rights groups support this theory, detractors of the notion of granting licenses to undocumented California residents say that to do so would be rewarding illegal behavior.

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Several political and law enforcement leaders in Los Angeles are in favor of permitting the DMV to award licenses to illegal immigrants, including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, and Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes.

Currently there are an estimated 2 million unlicensed drivers on California's streets and highways, whereas there are about 24 million licensed drivers.