All Illinoisans will benefit when 250,000 Illinois immigrant motorists get tested, get licensed, and get insured.
Unlicensed, uninsured immigrant drivers are involved in an estimated 79,600 accidents each year, costing $660 million in damage claims that other policy holders must cover. If these drivers can get licensed and insured, that cost of covering accidents involving uninsured motorists will decline, and insurance rates will fall for everyone.
- Since New Mexico began issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants in 2003, its rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33% to 9%. In Illinois, 15% of motorists drive without insurance.
- If half of the 250,000 unlicensed immigrants got licensed and insured, premiums would drop by $48 per policy. Illinois policy holders would save $418 million per year in premium payments.
Immigrant motorists would need to pay at least $30 to get a license.
- If 50% of the 250,000 currently unlicensed immigrant motorists got licenses, the State would receive $3.75 million in new revenue.
- If 75% of these motorists got licenses, the State would receive $5.63 million in new revenue.
- These motorists would also need to pay each time they renew their licenses, and could be charged additional fees to cover any security and fraud prevention measures or other costs.
Economic participation: Immigrants who can drive legally are more likely to work, spend, and contribute to our economy. A 2011 Oregon Department of Transportation study found that
- undocumented community members had trouble making large purchases and reduced their activities outside the home because they could not get driver’s licenses
- undocumented workers also risk losing jobs due to their inability to get to and from work
- immigrant families were also less able to get to grocery stores or malls and are limited in their purchases because they have to walk.
Since New Mexico began issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants in 2003, alcohol-related crashes decreased 32%, and traffic fatalities fell 23%.
Requiring undocumented motorists to get licenses will ease the burden on courts and jails.
- In Lake County, 470 (28%) of all motorists booked at the county jail for traffic offenses from October 2011 through September 2012 were immigrants who could not get licenses.
- In Cook County, 47,850 tickets were issued in 2011 to motorists for driving without a license.
In addition, police will be able to use licenses to identify motorists during stops and check their traffic records. And first responders and health care providers will be able to use the license to identify the individuals they are assisting.