New Jersey Law Enforcement Voice Support for Driver’s License Access For All Qualified Residents
Current and former law enforcement officials say access to driver’s licenses, regardless of federal immigration status, would improve road and public safety
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019— Three major law enforcement officials in New Jersey announced their support for expanding access to driver’s licenses today. The officials are voicing their support for expanding access to driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status, and allowing all qualified residents to earn access to a standard state driver’s license.
The legislation, A-4743 and S-3229, is currently awaiting hearings in the Assembly Judiciary and Senate Transportation committees, would improve access by allowing all residents, regardless of federal immigration status, to apply for a standard state driver’s license. All individuals would be required to go through the same process as any New Jersey resident, including taking the driver’s road test, and proving identity, age, and address. A growing list of law enforcement officials have endorsed the policy.
Chief of Detectives Quovella Spruill (Ret.) Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said,
“On our city streets, undocumented people are afraid of the police because they are driving without a license. They will avoid the police at all costs. When they will not report crimes or provide information to law enforcement, we cannot prevent and solve crimes.”
Lt. Nick Bucci (Ret.)New Jersey State Police said,
“This bill will improve road safety. People are going to drive to get to work, and we want them to go through the license testing process and have insurance. Unlicensed drivers are more likely to get into accidents, and uninsured drivers are more likely to hit and run.”
Chief of Police Luis A. Guzman, City of Passaic said,
“Police officers work every day to improve public safety in the communities we serve. When more drivers can get licensed, tested and insured to drive, we are all safer. That’s why I support expanding access to drivers licenses to more qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. It will help police officers do their job by building trust with the community. No matter where someone is born, people need to drive in New Jersey. Passing this bill is the right thing to do and it will make roads safer for all residents.”
Currently, 14 states and Washington D.C. including neighboring states of New York, Connecticut, and Maryland, allow qualified drivers, regardless of their immigration status, to apply for a driver’s license. In New Jersey, nearly 700,000 residents lack access, with nearly 500,000 lacking access due to their immigration status.
Studies show dramatic improvements in road and public safety as more residents are able to access a driver’s license. In New Mexico, the driver uninsured rate dropped by 24 percent, and in Utah, the rate of uninsured fell from 28 percent to just 8 percent after the implementation of similar policy measures.
The Let’s Drive NJ campaign is supported by a diverse array of organizations and community leaders across the state. More information about the campaign can be found at LetsDriveNJ.org.