Legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for Illinois driver’s licenses passed through the House Transportation Committee Monday morning and heads to the floor.
Under the plan, drivers would get three-year licenses, called Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses. They would be required to take driver's ed and carry car insurance. Lawmakers believe there are as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants on Illinois roads and that more than 40 percent of deadly Illinois crashes involve drivers who don't have a license.
"Unlicensed, uninsured drivers pose a serious risk to every driver and passenger on Illinois roadways, Secretary of State Jesse White and State Police Director Hiram Grau in a joint statement.
"We can do better – and save lives - by requiring all drivers to have licenses."
The duo said approving the plan not only will make roads safer but also lower insurance rates and strengthen the economy "from the work and buying power of all of our state’s residents."
New Mexico and Washington passed similar laws that White and Grau said have seen traffic accidents involving uninsured drivers plummet.
In November, multiple state politicians -- including Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton, House Republican Leader Tom Cross and former Illinois governors Jim Edgar and James Thompson -- joined to support the bill. Before that 28 Chicago aldermen signed a resolution supporting the bill that would give undocumented immigrants the chance to have a license.