In November, California voters approved AB 60, an Assembly bill that allows original driver's licenses to be issued to applicants regardless of their legal immigration status, as long as they can provide proof of identity and California residency. Beginning January 2, over one million residents are eligible to obtain licenses.
What does AB 60 mean for me?
Before the passage of AB 60, anyone seeking a California driver's license was required to prove their identity and their status as a legal resident of the United States. In conjunction with President Barack Obama's recently announced immigration reform, which allows nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S., this law strengthens the accountability of these drivers.
To prepare for the increase in license applications, the DMV:
- Attended community meetings and public workshops to spread the news
- Allows Saturday appointments for those seeking driver's licenses under this law
- Increased the window for appointments by allowing customers to schedule them 90-days in advance
- Opened four new driver's license processing centers
- Hired 900 new employees for customer service
Those that seek their driver's license must pass the written exam, the driving test, and a vision test, as well as prove their identity and residency. The intention of this new law is to increase the safety of California roads by ensuring that only licensed and qualified drivers are taking to the roads. By decreasing the number of unlicensed drivers, the state believes that they can reduce the number of accidents with uninsured drivers.
With nearly 1.5 million additional drivers expected to obtain their licenses in the next three years, California residents should be prepared for an increase in the number of people on the roads and the increased likelihood for accidents. However, unlike getting into an accident with an uninsured driver, a licensed driver will be required to have insurance, making obtaining compensation much more simple.