Measure to Allow Illegal Immigrants to Obtain Temporary Driver’s Licenses in Illinois Poised to Become Law

Following a lengthy debate, a bill designed to allow illegal immigrants to a obtain motor vehicle operator’s license was passed by the Illinois House in early January. The same bill was approved in the state Senate in December. After the legislation passed the House by a vote of 65-46, Governor Pat Quinn stated he plans on signing the bill into law once it reaches his desk. A similar measure was reportedly defeated in 2007.

Proponents of the legislation argued that motorists throughout the state will enjoy increased safety by allowing an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants now residing in Illinois to drive legally. Undocumented immigrants are reportedly driving anyway, often without any sort of regulation or liability insurance. According to Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker, the legislation will expand the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License program that currently allows legal immigrants and other foreigners to operate a vehicle within the state. In order to obtain a license, an undocumented individual will purportedly be required to submit proof of Illinois residency for at least one year. The measure will not require an applicant to be fingerprinted and the temporary licenses may not be used as identification. In addition, the license will be renewable every three years.

Although some believe the measure may encourage immigrants to violate federal law, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel stated the legislation was a great accomplishment that would allow individuals to take their children to school and engage in other activities safely. Once the legislation is signed by the Governor, Illinois will join a number of other states in providing temporary licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Across the nation, unlicensed drivers are allegedly five times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic wreck than motorists who possess a valid operator’s license. According to the Illinois Highway Safety Coalition, unlicensed and uninsured drivers are involved in nearly 80,000 car crashes throughout the state each year. In 2011, approximately 48,000 tickets were issued in Cook County alone to drivers who failed to possess a valid operator’s license.

Chicago residents often spend a great deal of time traveling in a motor vehicle. Sadly, traffic wrecks are bound to occur. Many factors such as driver inattention, inexperience, or impairment can result in a catastrophic or deadly collision. Although Illinois law prohibits unlicensed drivers from operating a vehicle on roadways in our state, many choose to drive anyway. If you were hurt in a crash that was caused by another driver, you may be eligible to recover compensation for any damages you incurred as a result. An experienced car accident attorney can help.

If you were injured in a Chicago car accident, you should give the lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596. Our capable Chicago Metro car accident attorneys are available 24 hours per day, every day of the week to answer your questions and help you file your personal injury claim. Our skilled lawyers have years of experience advocating on behalf of clients who were unexpectedly hurt by another motorist. To speak with a committed personal injury attorney today, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through our website.

More Blogs:

Driver and Passenger Hurt After CTA Bus Hits at Least 20 Parked Cars on Kedzie Avenue in Chicago, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 9, 2013
16-Year-Old Driver Killed in Early Morning Accident on the South Side of Chicago, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, January 4, 2012
Additional Resources:

Illegal immigrants cleared to hit the roads, by Rafael Guerrero and Antonio Olivo, Chicago Tribune


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