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Providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California improves traffic safety

  1. Duncan Lawrencea,b,c1
  1. aDepartment of Political Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6044;
  2. bImmigration Policy Lab, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6044;
  3. cImmigration Policy Lab, University of Zurich, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland;
  4. dGraduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6044
  1. Edited by Mary C. Waters, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved March 3, 2017 (received for review November 17, 2016)

  1. Fig. 2.

    Effects of AB60 on accidents per capita, the share of fatal accidents, and the share of hit and run accidents. (A) Average accidents per capita generally declined from the pre- to post-AB60 period. However, this reduction in accidents is unrelated to the share of AB60 licenses issued in a county. (B) Similarly, there is no relationship between the share of AB60 licenses issued and changes in fatal accidents. (C) The rate of hit and run accidents increased from the pre- to post-AB60 period in counties that issued few AB60 licenses. However, these increases are markedly reduced in counties where many AB60 licenses were issued.

  2. Fig. 3.

    Correlation between changes in outstanding driver’s licenses and auto registrations. The best-fitting lines summarize for each year the relationship between the annual percentage changes in all outstanding driver’s licenses and auto registrations separately for counties with few (Left) and many (Right) AB60 licenses issued in 2015. The correlation is close to one for all years except 2015 (red), when the correlation drops considerably and is no longer statistically significant for the counties that issued many AB60 licenses. This decline in the correlation indicates that unauthorized immigrants who obtained AB60 licenses were much less likely to also register a car.

Online Impact

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