Drivers who are unlicensed or have a suspended or revoked license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash, a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study found.
But it’s even more dangerous to be an unlicensed driver than to drive with a suspended or revoked license. Compared to the average legal driver, such drivers are 2.6 to 2.73 times more likely to cause a fatal crash, depending on the driver.
The study, Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers, took crash data over a span of 23 years. Researchers looked at the correlation among two-vehicle fatal crashes where one driver was at fault. The at-fault crash risk of drivers without permission to drive has not diminished over time.
The Department of Motor Vehicles found that people between the ages of 20 and 29 who do not have authorized licenses have the largest percentage of two-vehicle fatal car accidents.
If caught with a suspended or revoked license or found to be driving without one, the citation can result in a 30-day vehicle impoundment, thousands of dollars in fines, and/or time added to a suspension or probation period.
Collisions involving drivers who do not have the legal right to be on the road are familiar occurrances in the Napa Valley, where a 15-year-old unlicensed driver was involved last April in a collision that injured five people.
A more recent example came New Year's Eve when a motorist was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after his license had been suspended for the same offense.
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