Immigrant rights groups and other supporters believe that issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants would reduce fatalities and uninsured motorist claims. Per the L.A. Times, the most recent data available shows that insurance companies paid out $634 million in claims for collisions related to uninsured motorists in 2009.
But critics argue that it just rewards illegal activity. I don't see driving legally as a reward necessarily, especially in light of the positives... like fewer deaths. I don't know about you, but I think living is a lot better than dying, so lowering death tolls could be construed as a, you know, good thing.
Unlicensed drivers in California — the vast majority of whom are illegal immigrants — are nearly three times as likely to cause a fatal crash as licensed drivers, according to a study by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The report suggests that merely meeting the modest requirements necessary to get a license — passing a written exam and driving test — could improve road safety and help reduce the several thousand fatalities that occur in the state each year. [...]
Supporters point out that granting licenses to illegal immigrants also could reduce the number of hit-and-run accidents. Unlicensed drivers leave crash scenes at significantly higher rates than licensed drivers, according to a 2011 national report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
If you hit someone with your car, and you're afraid of consequences like, say, being deported, you're less likely to stick around afterwards. Go figure.
If nothing else, safety should trump anti-immigrant sentiment here (key word: should), what with all that "pro-life" talk and all; it just makes sense. And it also means drivers' information would be on record, which one would think would please even the most conservative, ardent anti-immigrant types. And let's not forget the one benefit that seems to matter to some people more than anything: Money. Issuing licenses saves lots of it.
But the real rewards would go to those whose lives were saved.