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Highway safety, insurance rates to improve with DL legislation

Updated: January 13, 2013 11:07AM

Highway safety and insurance rates to improve with DL legislation

As a resident of Crystal Lake, I would feel safer knowing that all of its residents were driving with a license and insurance.

Illinois is home to approximately 250,000 immigrant motorists who are unable to get a driver’s license and insurance. Unlicensed and uninsured immigrant drivers cost us all $64 million in damage claims. Last year, 42 percent of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved unlicensed drivers; and nationwide, unlicensed motors are five times likelier to be in a fatal crash than licensed drivers. Washington and New Mexico already require all motorists, including undocumented immigrants, to get driver’s license. Both states also use strong procedures to verify documents regarding identity and residence and guard against fraud and abuse.

The much-needed Illinois bill promotes public safety by protecting our communities from uninsured drivers to free up police to tend to important matters. Offering driving documents to all immigrants would produce many other benefits:

Police will be able to use licenses to identify motorists during stops and check their traffic records.

Licensing all drivers will help first responders and health care 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.

Drivers will be more likely to stay at the scene of an accident to aid police and emergency workers and to exchange insurance information with affected motorists.

Limited court time and jail space will be less burdened with cases of drivers who are there solely for driving without a license or insurance.

As more drivers get insured, the numbers of accidents involving uninsured motorists will decline, the costs of such accidents will decline, and insurance rates will fall for everyone.

It will increase the pool of urgently needed organ donors.

I urge members of the Illinois General Assembly and Secretary of State Jesse White to demonstrate leadership and courage and support Highway Safety and Mandatory Insurance for all in Illinois. This bill is supported by law enforcement, businesses and hospitals, and is a sensible and common sense solution for everyone who drives in Illinois.

Andy Hernandez

Crystal Lake

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