Highway Safety Coalition Urges General Assembly to Have Courage & Take Action on Driver’s Licenses for All

November 14, 2012

Highway Coalition press conference in the Thompson Center, Chicago, on November 13, 2012

The Highway Safety Coalition, a broad spectrum of law enforcement, healthcare, business, education, labor, faith and community leaders is calling on the General Assembly to have courage and put highway safety first by passing legislation in veto session 2012 to require all Illinois drivers to be licensed and insured.

In Illinois there are approximately 250,000 immigrant motorists driving without a driver’s license and insurance, because they are not allowed to drive legally.  Unlicensed and uninsured drivers are involved in 79,600 accidents each year in Illinois, costing $660 million in damage claims.  Nationwide, unlicensed motors are five times likelier to be involved in a fatal crash than licensed drivers.  Washington and New Mexico already require all motorists, including undocumented immigrants, to get driver’s license.  Since New Mexico made this change in 2003, its rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33% to under 9%.  New Mexico also saw a 24% decrease in alcohol-related crashes and a 25% drop in traffic fatalities.

Additionally, licensing all drivers will help first responders and healthcare providers to identify patients under their care, verify patient medical history, facilitate patient billing and will be instrumental in the implementation of the electronic medical record system under the Affordable Healthcare Act. As well, licensing all drivers will increase pool of urgently needed organ donors.

For more information on the Highway Safety Coalition please visit www.highwaysafetycoalition.org.