SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove) said lawmakers passed a bipartisan measure on Dec. 4 to improve the safety of Illinois roadways and supply the state with $3.75 million in new revenue, among other benefits.
Sen. Sandack said that he supported the issue as a co-sponsor of the legislation because it comes down to ensuring that all drivers have insurance and that it ultimately aims to protect all drivers on Illinois roadways.
“This is an issue that state lawmakers have considered in the past,” Sen. Sandack said. “The federal government has failed to address this situation, forcing us as a state to develop a solution. There has been a lot of work done on this legislation to address various concerns and I believe this is the best option for the state at this time. It is my hope that damage claim costs decrease with more insured drivers and we will see fewer fatalities associated with unlicensed drivers than we have in previous years.”
Senate Bill 957, co-sponsored by Sen. Sandack, provides undocumented immigrants with temporary driver’s licenses provided that they have lived in Illinois for at least a year, passed all required tests, and are insured. The legislation also specifies that the temporary visitor’s driver’s license is not a proof of identity, and could not be used to vote, apply for a FOID card or board an airplane. Additionally, the license will be considered invalid if the holder is unable to provide proof of liability insurance upon a police officer’s request, and the motorist would receive tickets for driving without insurance and driving without a license.
Proponents view the measure as a safety issue, noting that there are already an estimated 250,000 undocumented resident drivers who are currently not trained, tested, licensed or insured. Unlicensed and uninsured immigrant drivers cost Illinois drivers approximately $64 million in damage claims and 42% of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved unlicensed drivers last year. In addition to safety issues, the temporary driver’s licenses will provide additional new revenue, assist first responders and healthcare providers, and increase the pool of urgently needed organ donors.
Senate Bill 957 moves to the House of Representatives for consideration before going to the governor to be signed into law.