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DMV Study: Unlicensed Drivers Pose Threat on California Roads

Drivers with revoked or suspended licenses or who drive without a license are more likely to cause fatal car accidents, according to a new state study.

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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MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" January 08, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Why should illegal aliens get a pass?
George Bachich January 09, 2013 at 12:32 AM
I have gotten to know quite a few of them over the years. They are honest, hardworking, and responsible, just like the rest of us. They come here to make a better life for themselves, just as our parents and grandparents did. If we didn't need their services, we would not pay them, and they would not come. But we do pay them, because we do need them. Napa would not have a wine industry if not for immigrant labor, and if there were no wine industry here, the rest of us would not have jobs providing other things the wine industry needs. Your grocery store would not have the great variety of fruits and vegetables it now has if not for immigrant labor. We pay them to come because the services they provide make our lives better, then we make life difficult for them by labeling them criminals. We make them drive to work, but refuse to give them drivers licenses or car insurance. Then we arrest them and confiscate their cars for driving without a license. That is not fair treatment. We have a duty to treat everyone fairly, and that is why they deserve a pass. At the very least, we should avoid painting them with the same brush we use for 15 year old car thieves and irresponsible drunken drivers. We need to change our laws to reflect economic reality, and to treat fairly the people who come here to find honest work.
John Richards January 09, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Sorry George. If someone comes into this country by breaking the immigration laws, they need to be deported. I understand there are legal guest worker programs to accommodate the need for seasonal workers. That's not an excuse to stay here permanently by cutting in front of the line of those waiting to immigrate legally.
George Bachich January 09, 2013 at 03:29 AM
John, I think you are overestimating the size of those guest worker programs and underestimating the need for workers. The programs are far too limited and restricted to fill the real need. But we are digressing. The point I'm trying to make is that the DMV study is misleading because it lumps all unlicensed drivers together and paints them all with the same brush. That study should not be used to justify labeling people who actually know how to drive safely and who make every effort to do so as threats to our safety just because we refuse to give them drivers licenses.
Navi January 09, 2013 at 06:16 AM
Directly from the report: "A final potential limitation that deserves mention is that S/R and unlicensed drivers may have been more likely to have been falsely assigned fault than were validly licensed drivers due to a possible “negative halo effect,” in which the law enforcement officer was more likely to judge a driver to be responsible for the crash if they were not validly licensed (DeYoung et al., 1997)."

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