Driver’s Certificates would mean big savings for Illinois Motorists

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SPRINGFIELD, IL, May 9, 2007- enabling unlicensed immigrant drivers to get driver’s certificates and auto insurance would create significant savings for Illinois motorists in insurance premiums, according to a report released by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). The report, “Safety and Savings: How Driver’s Certificates Would Lower Premiums and Make Our Roads Safer,” discusses the impact of unlicensed immigrant drivers on our state’s public safety, and calculates the costs of preventing these drivers to get driving documents and insurance. It argues for the passage of HB 1100, the Roadway
Safety and Mandatory Insurance Coverage Act now before the State Senate, which would enable immigrant
motorists to get driver’s certificates and buy insurance.
“We have argued that HB 1100 would make our roads safer and benefit all Illinois motorists,” said Illinois State Rep. Edward Acevedo, House sponsor of the bill. “Now we have the numbers to prove it.”
The report estimates that there are approximately 250,000 unlicensed immigrant motorists in Illinois, motorists who are ineligible for driver’s licenses in Illinois due to their immigration status. These unlicensed immigrant motorists make up 17.6% of Illinois’ uninsured motorists.
“These are motorists who want to drive legally and get insurance, just like everyone else,” said Fred Tsao, ICIRR policy director. “But unlike other uninsured drivers, these drivers would get insurance if they could, but they cannot because they cannot get licensed.”
Enabling these motorists to get driving certificates and insurance would lower insurance premiums for all motorists. If 75% of all unlicensed immigrant motorists got certificates and insurance, Illinois drivers would save more than $83 a year on each policy. Even if only half got certificates and insurance, each motorist would save $45 per policy. “It just makes good common sense to get people who are on our roads into the insurance pool, so that they can help share the costs of keeping our roads safe,” noted Kevin Martin, executive director of the Illinois Insurance Association.
Utah has been issuing certificates since March 2005. Approximately 37,000 Utah drivers have DPCs, including undocumented immigrants and holders of temporary visas. This number is out of approximately 50,000 undocumented motorists. No less than 75% of certificate holders have purchased insurance. “Utah’s program offers a successful example that Illinois can follow and even improve upon,” Tsao commented.
HB 1100 passed the Senate Executive Committee last week, and is awaiting a vote in the Illinois Senate. “This legislation is necessary to protect all drivers,” said the bill’s Senate sponsor, State Senator Tony Muñoz. “Illinois roads would be safer for all if non-licensed drivers could get tested, get certified by the State, and get insurance.”
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a state wide coalition of 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.
For more information on the Roadway Safety and Mandatory Insurance Coverage Act,
call Lawrence Benito at 312.735.5310

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