How Offering Driver’s Licenses to Immigrants Here Illegally Makes Roads Safer

NPR Code Switch: “Researchers at Stanford University this week published a study that may bolster the argument that policies aimed at encouraging immigrants to come out of the shadows actually improve public safety. They found that a 2013 California law granting driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally reduced hit-and-run accidents by 7 to 10 percent in 2015, meaning roughly 4,000 fewer hit-and-runs. In that same year, 600,000 people got driver’s licenses under the law.”

“The researchers suggest that ‘consequently, unauthorized immigrants with a valid form of in-state driving authorization have weaker incentives to flee the scene after an accident, because they are less likely to fear deportation.’ Their study also found that the license law did not increase the number of traffic accidents overall, as opponents had claimed it would. It did not decrease the number either. But the decline in hit-and-run accidents was a positive sign, the researchers wrote.”

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