The California Department of Motor Vehicles recently conducted a study of California traffic accidents and came up with what might be an obvious but still important point: unlicensed drivers are a serious threat to traffic safety.

Specifically, crash records indicate that unlicensed drivers in California are about three times more likely to cause fatal car accidents. Some in the state are making this safety finding a political matter related to illegal immigration.

The DMV report doesn’t specify the percentage of unlicensed drivers who are illegal immigrants. Making the argument that this traffic safety concern is caused by bad immigration policy or irresponsible immigrants, therefore, is premature.

Those who presume that the majority of unlicensed drivers don’t have licenses because they are illegal argue that the state should make it an option for illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license. Securing a license means that someone has to pass written and driving tests. Having to pass tests would hopefully improve the skills of the drivers who otherwise are driving without much education.

This isn’t a proven immigration problem, however. Other possible reasons why drivers are unlicensed is that they simply don’t want to go through the process of getting licensed or that they have had their driver’s license revoked or suspended due to past violations. Either way, drivers with either of those backgrounds are a clear danger on California roadways and everywhere.

Source: The Huffington Post, “California Unlicensed Driver Report Doesn’t Refer To Undocumented Immigrants,” Anna Almendrala, Jan. 16, 2013