A committee in the Texas House of Representatives heard testimony this week about a bill which would allow undocumented immigrants to receive drivers permits after submitting to a background check, being fingerprinted, and paying various fees. Currently, undocumented immigrants cannot obtain a drivers permit until they obtain citizenship.
Without valid government identification, an undocumented immigrant cannot register a vehicle or obtain auto insurance. While this bill does face opposition in the Texas legislature, decreasing the number of unlicensed and uninsured drivers on the road benefits all drivers.
Fort Worth auto accident attorneys know that when unlicensed or uninsured drivers are involved in accidents, everyone’s ability to recover compensation for medical bills or injuries is compromised. While time will tell if the proposed bill passes in the legislature, increasing the number of safe drivers on the road with auto insurance will be to the advantage of every Texan.
How Can Driver Permits Help?
There is much debate about how to handle immigration law in this country. While all the sides may not agree on everything, there are several reasons why some type of permitting system would benefit all Texas drivers.
First, a driver without a license will not be able to purchase auto insurance. Without insurance, any injuries that that person causes or receives in an accident will be the drivers personal financial responsibility. People who are injured in an accident with an unlicensed driver will have to hope that their own insurance covers all their medical bills. If undocumented immigrants could purchase auto insurance, both parties would have a better chance of having their bills paid after an accident.
Second, an unlicensed driver with a dubious immigration status has a very strong incentive to leave the scene of an accident, even if the other driver was at fault. At times, avoiding an encounter with the police can be a more pressing need than making sure that anyone injured receives help. By licensing undocumented immigrants, some of this impetus to flee is reduced, and more drivers may stay to call for help or report accidents.
Finally, by creating a permitting system, Texas can make sure that more drivers have been trained on the rules of the road and can competently operate a vehicle. Without this system, undocumented drivers may be driving without the formal training that other motorists must complete before operating a car.
Not everyone will agree with the rules proposed by the Texas legislature, but it is a step in the right direction. Any system which makes drivers safer and more accountable for their actions will make the roads safer for all Texas drivers.