Re "Battling unlicensed drivers," Column, Jan. 27
I can't begin to imagine the pain that Don Rosenberg has experienced after losing his son as the result of an accident involving an unlicensed driver.
As Steve Lopez points out, studies show that unlicensed drivers are much more likely to leave the scene of an accident and three times as likely to cause a fatality. But does he honestly believe that putting licenses into their hands will change those statistics? Anyone who has taken a written test at the DMV knows that cheating is rampant, and I know of many people who simply choose to drive without insurance.
Laws that coddle those who are caught driving without licenses do nothing to discourage their behavior or make our roads safer. I will never understand why our lawmakers don't recognize that the word "illegal" means just that, and that such behavior should be dealt with, not accommodated.
The DMV statistic showing that unlicensed drivers are three times as likely to cause a fatal crash as licensed drivers is misleading. That statistic lumps together unlicensed drivers along with those whose licenses have been suspended or revoked.
A driver who has had his license taken away has been determined to be an unsafe driver. A driver who has never been licensed, on the other hand, has not been determined to be an unsafe driver. This is the case for drivers who are unlicensed because of their immigration status.
It is unreasonable to have a law that imposes a huge penalty for driving without a license, and at the same time have another law that prohibits giving drivers' licenses to a large segment of our population. This double bind ensnares thousands of the poorest members of our community.
We should either allow undocumented immigrants to take the required DMV tests, or do away with draconian penalties for driving without a license.
The letter writer is a member of the National Lawyers Guild's Los Angeles chapter.
After reading Lopez's column on the issue of unlicensed drivers, the solution is clear: All drivers need to be licensed, insured and drive vehicles that are fully functional.
I react with anguish whenever I remember the fatal collision in 2007 that killed film director Bob Clark and his son. The driver at fault was an unlicensed, uninsured illegal immigrant whose blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. He walked away with minor injuries and was sentenced to six years in prison, while Clark and his son went directly to the morgue, their wonderfully creative and vibrant lives terminated by the senseless actions of an unlicensed drunk driver.
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