Unlicensed Drivers Are a Threat to Everyone in California
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Until recent years, our biggest road safety threats were drunk and distracted drivers. Today, our biggest challenge may be surviving all the California drivers who do not even have a license. In fact, one Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) study covering more than twenty years revealed that it is the unlicensed drivers who are 2.73 times more likely to cause fatal accidents than those with valid licenses.
Revoked or Suspended Licenses
Although many drivers without a license have revoked or suspended ones, this group also includes careless people who simply feel they have a right to endanger others, even when they are here illegally or have not even bothered to apply for a license. Their failure to undergo California traffic law training in their own language (and lack of driving experience) is proving deadly.
Unlicensed Drivers Statistics
About five years ago, the Los Angeles Times estimated that there are about two million undocumented immigrants driving without licenses in this state. Overworked law enforcement officers would surely agree with that figure – and perhaps claim it is even higher. After all, they are the ones who must regularly impound unlicensed drivers’ vehicles and handle the difficult aftermath of so many serious car accidents.
What Past Studies Tell Us About Unlicensed Drivers
An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study (“Unlicensed to Kill”) revealed that all across this nation, over 8,000 people a year suffer fatal injuries due to traffic accidents caused by unlicensed drivers. That same study noted that over 28 percent of the unlicensed drivers had already received three or more suspensions or revocations of their licenses during the three years before they caused a fatal accident. It is now known that we are all most likely to be hit by an unlicensed driver either late at night or during the early morning hours. Related statistics indicate that most of these unlicensed, dangerous drivers are males who have been out drinking.
Hit-and-Run Accidents Linked to Unlicensed Drivers
Equally upsetting is the fact that a large percentage of these same drivers are causing many of California’s hit-and-run driving accidents. Although it hasn’t been fully researched yet, it is very possible that these same unlicensed drivers are causing a high percentage of California’s non-fatal and multi-vehicle collisions.
Reducing Unlicensed Drivers in California
At present, California’s law enforcement officials and legislators are not certain what they should do to greatly reduce all the serious and deadly injuries being caused by unlicensed drivers. However, it’s important to keep carefully weighing every serious option.
Here are some suggestions for putting a stop to Californians driving without a license:
- Impounding vehicles for longer time periods. In addition to taking away unlicensed drivers’ vehicles, heavy fees and penalties should also be required. Perhaps if these drivers are forced to take mass transit to and from work for six months or a year, they might decide to stop endangering and killing innocent people out on our state’s roads;
- Jail and prison time. Since so many drunk drivers just switch cars to avoid using ignition interlock systems (or else drive without a license), maybe they need to start spending some time away from their families to think more about their poor choices;
- Develop a highly secure “smart card” for California drivers. Due to excessive traffic and road accidents, Turkey began requiring many drivers to use “smart card” licenses that provided clear proof of the driver’s correct identity before a vehicle could be started. Something similar could prove very useful in California – making it nearly impossible for drunks or unlicensed drivers to get in and start up a vehicle.
Fresno Car Accident Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno car accident lawyer. Being involved in a car accident is a serious, life-changing experience. If you or your loved one has suffered an injury in an accident, please contact me at (559) 377-7676 for free, friendly advice. You may also connect with me toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
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