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Roger Williams Study: Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Would Improve Safety

Friday, January 06, 2017


Raimondo has failed to keep pledge

A study released on Thursday morning by Roger Williams University claims that if drivers licenses were issued to undocumented Rhode Islanders there would be less accidents on RI roads.

The analysis released by the Bristol-based university claims “that Rhode Island has the largest percentage of uninsured motorists in New England, and the state contains an estimated 30,000 undocumented immigrants.”

In all,  – provide standard or alternate driver’s licenses to their undocumented populations. The study found that — 14 jurisdictions – including 12 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. — that provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants neither realize a massive influx of immigrants, and the jurisdictions have fewer traffic fatality rates on average and lower average costs for auto insurance. 

Also, the study claims that poverty rates tend to decline at a faster rate in states that provide driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, the study found.

The study cites an AAA Foundation report that unlicensed drivers were 19 percent more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. “The completion of driver’s education and passing of a driving test would ensure that all drivers on the roads are aware of the driving rules and laws of the road, thereby making it safer for all to drive,” the report states.

The study analyzes how other states have handled driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, saying, “States with a lenient approach invite fraud and free-riding by residents of other states. States with a strict approach discourage bona fide applicants, and thus jeopardize the public safety and economic benefits of granting driver’s privileges to undocumented individuals.” Legislation proposed in the past in Rhode Island falls into the “moderate” category that strikes the right balance, the report says.

The press release includes a statement from Governor Gina M. Raimondo, who had signed a pledge to extend drivers licenses to undocumented and has refused to fulfill the promise during her first two years in office.  

Raimondo said about this report, “This comprehensive analysis by researchers at Roger Williams University confirms that issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented Rhode Islanders can improve public safety for everyone. I remain committed to addressing this important public safety issue and hope to work with the General Assembly to provide a path for undocumented Rhode Islanders to obtain drivers’ licenses.”

http://bit.ly/2hTiW3K" target="_blank">READ THE FULL REPORT HERE


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