Driving Without Documents

The Independent‘s article “Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Make Roads Safer” reviews a Stanford study that “Details Benefits of State Law Granting Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants.” Author Tyler Hayden reports that “an estimated 4,000 hit-and-run accidents have been prevented by AB 60.” Three sentences later he then states, “The study also found that AB 60 had no discernable effect on the overall number of traffic accidents and fatalities in the state.”

What kind of muddled reasoning is this? How can you avoid 4,000 hit-and-run accidents and have no effect on the overall number of accidents or fatalities? I don’t have an opinion about the effects of AB 60, but I’m certainly not swayed by an argument that is politically correct, but seems to ignore its own data.

Editor’s Note: We checked with study coauthor Duncan Lawrence, who stated: “The results suggest the rate of accidents did not increase because AB60 drivers are just like other Californians (i.e., they are no more or less likely to cause an accident). However, the rate of hit-and-run accidents went down in counties with a high share of AB60 licenses because AB60 drivers no longer have to worry about the consequences (car impoundment, arrest, possibly deportation) of causing an accident while driving without a driver’s license and being undocumented.”

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