The Undocumented Motorist Safety & Insurance Task Force established under the provisions of State Concurrent Resolution 36, passed by the State Senate and the House of Representative of the 147th General Assembly have concluded their findings and will be presenting a Driving Privilege Card legislation to the Senate for consideration.
The Coalition United for Safer Roads for all Delawareans needs your support to pass this
Some key points to consider are as follows:
Driving Privilege Card Can Enhance Safety
Question: Will allowing undocumented residents to drive pose a safety concern for law-abiding citizens? There are already instances of hit-and-run accidents and other safety issues involving undocumented people.
Answer: The State of Delaware is charged with creating public safety for all Delawareans statewide. This legislation will ensure that more Delaware motorists have passed driving-related tests such as writing test, road test and eye test. Residents applying for the card would have to complete current driver testing requirements and demonstrate residency by filing Delaware income tax returns for two years. Enacting state legislation to allow eligible residents, including those without documentation, to drive legally would increase road safety for all Delaware residents.
Question: Can unlicensed motorists who cause personal injury and property damage due to
accidents with other uninsured and unlicensed cause a large economic burden on the state?
Answer: Many undocumented eligible residents contribute to Delaware’s economy and community, including the payment of taxes on their salaries/wages. A requirement for obtaining the driving privilege card is that individuals prove that they are tax-paying resident for two years in Delaware. Because of this, driving cards will increase revenue for the state and will add to the tax base revenue. Fees will help pay for DMV cost of administration. Budget exists now for front-end expenses.
Decrease in Premiums for Automobile Insurance
Question: Do undocumented motorists results in increased insurance rates, personal injury, and
property damage due to accidents?
Answer: Obtaining automobile insurance will help increase safety and reduce insurance premiums for all Delaware motorists. Auto insurance groups support it. The uninsured drivers know it is a MUST to get car insurance to drive safe in the roads.
Decrease in Fraudulent Activity
Question: Is it true that around 10,000 fraudulent cases have occurred in the several last years?
Answer: Anti-fraud measures are necessary, and as part of this legislation, TIN number is requested and face recognition is being implemented to avoid fraud. For example, DMV has a
face-recognition process that works in coordination with other entities. The face-recognition is proven method and is included in the proposed legislation. Additionally, only non-felons can apply under this legislation.
Law Enforcement Officials and the Community
Question: Is there a lot of distrust of law enforcement and the undocumented community on the roads?
Answer: Law enforcement officers will be able to check driving credentials, which could lead to a decrease in hit-and-runs, producing better relationships between police officers and the community. The law will require applicants to be photographed and this biometric measure will allow the DMV to tie the driving privilege cardholder to the facial recognition. This biometric measure is very accurate and allows the DMV to eliminate fraud. Many eligible residents without documents are willing to “step out of the shadows” and more formally integrate into the Delaware community, but currently lack an avenue along in which to do so.
Burden in the Courts
Question: Do undocumented drivers saturate the court system?
Answer: This legislation will reduce the number of court cases that currently burden the system
adding additional costs and time to an already overtaxed legal system.
Logistical Considerations for DMV
Question: Does the DMV have the capacity to provide a safety course for an influx of
applicants, while maintaining accurate records?
Answer: Structured properly, a driving privilege card system will improve public safety on roadways while discouraging fraudulent applications or a direct influx of new immigrants. The more complicated the application process, the less likely undocumented Delawareans are to apply for a driving-privilege card.
Driving Privilege Card Design
Question: By adopting this legislation does Delaware risk losing compliance with the 2005
Federal Real ID Act by producing a non-compliance driving card?
Answer: It is important that any system implemented should ensure that Delaware remains in compliance with the 2005 Federal Real ID Act. DMV will design a sample card that has clearly identifiable markings, which identifies it, as a Driving Privilege Card. DMV will also design the Driving Privilege card to state that it is not to be used for Identification. The Driving Privilege card cannot be used for identification purposes. Its sole purpose is to identify a driver as having passed all required DMV conditions.
Using Others States as a Model
Question: Does Delaware’s lack of experience with implemented the system may delay its
Answer: Delaware should join the 13 other states, including Maryland, that have created a driving privilege card for eligible undocumented residents in order to increase road safety. The examples of these states provide Delaware with an opportunity to adopt elements of systems that have been proven effective and enable us to avoid elements of systems that have been ineffective.
Several other states have already enacted legislation establishing “driving-privilege card” systems to help improve public safety on roadways.
Question: Will such legislation be problematic for Immigration Reform once implemented?
Answer: There is significant merit to Delaware choosing not to wait for progress at the federal level, and taking whatever actions it can to improve public safety on Delaware roadways, strengthen economic and community opportunities for all Delaware residents, and resolve sensitive immigration and cultural issues.
Wiliness to Participate in the System
Question: Are undocumented Delaware residents willing to participate in this legislation?
Answer: The coalition surveyed thousands of eligible Delaware residents in the state to see if they would sign up for the driving privilege card; the overwhelming response was yes. The card will help eligible residents, many of whom are already driving on our state’s roads, drive legally. It will help them to purchase affordable insurance, which is in the interest of all citizens.
Question: Will lack of knowledge of driving privilege cards prevent the uninsured community
from using the system and obtaining car insurance?
Answer: The Delaware General Assembly should support community and law-enforcement groups in their efforts to educate undocumented Delawareans about the requirements of the driving-privilege card system and application, so as to increase participation in the system. The survey done by the coalition shows that uninsured drivers understand that to get car insurance is a must.
Immigrants under DACA
Question: Does the legislation proposed address DACA recipients?
Answer: Currently undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may qualify for a driver’s license if the states where they reside accept the DACA documentation for licensing purposes. A number of states, including Connecticut, are granting licenses to successful DACA applicants. Delaware is one of the states that grants a license to DACA applicants. These individuals have taken the opportunity to sign up and become legal drivers.
Law Enforcement vs. Immigration officers
Question: Will the driving privilege cards be used by law enforcement to discriminate against
undocumented Delaware residents?
Answer: The coalition believes it is essential that the legislation creating this driving privilege card contain language to ensure local police officers are able to do their jobs to make our roads safe. Decreasing the number of undocumented residents avoiding contact with state and local law enforcement can be accomplished by including protections in the legislation ensuring state and local law enforcement do not detain residents for deportation if they are arrested for a minor crime and otherwise eligible to be released from custody. This provision would help make our roads safer by helping ensure undocumented Delaware residents are comfortable signing up for
and using their driving privilege card and can also make our communities safer by encouraging Delaware residents who cannot prove lawful presence in the U.S. to still report crimes to law enforcement.
Who is the Coalition United for Safe Roads for All Delawareans? The coalition is made up of a growing number of community organizations and faith leaders which includes: the Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement, Pacem in Terris, the Latin American Community Center, the Delaware Hispanic Commission, La Esperanza, the Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice, Inc., the Delaware Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action, among many others. For more information, contact Darlene Battle at firstname.lastname@example.org.