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posted: 11/30/2012 5:00 AM

License proposal good for all drivers

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I would feel safer knowing that everyone in my community is driving with a license and insurance. Illinois is home to approximately 250,000 immigrant motorists who are unable to get a driver's license and insurance. Unlicensed and uninsured immigrant drivers cost us all $64 million in damage claims. Last year 42 percent of fatal crashes in Illinois involved unlicensed drivers.

The much-needed legislative proposal promotes public safety by protecting our communities from uninsured drivers to free up police to tend to important matters. Offering driving documents to all immigrants would produce many other benefits:

• Police will be able to use licenses to identify motorists during stops and check their traffic records

• Licensing all drivers will help first responders and health care providers to identify patients under their care, verify patient medical history and facilitate patient billing.

• Drivers will be more likely to stay at the scene of an accident to aid police, and emergency workers and to exchange insurance information with affected motorists

• Limited court time and jail space will be less burdened with cases of drivers who are there solely for driving without a license or insurance

• As more drivers get insured, the numbers of accidents involving uninsured motorists will decline, the costs of such accidents will decline, and insurance rates will fall for everyone

• It will increase the pool of urgently needed organ donors.

I urge members of the Illinois General Assembly and Secretary of State Jesse White to demonstrate leadership and courage and support Highway Safety and Mandatory Insurance for all in Illinois. This bill is supported by law enforcement, businesses and hospitals and is a sensible and common sense solution for everyone who drives in Illinois.

Barbara Rusin

Arlington Heights

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