DMV Study: Unlicensed Drivers Pose Threat on California Roads

Drivers with revoked or suspended licenses or who drive without a license are more likely to cause fatal car accidents, according to a new state study.

Drivers who are unlicensed or have a suspended or revoked license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash, a new California Department of Motor Vehicles study found.

But it’s even more dangerous to be an unlicensed driver than to drive with a suspended or revoked license. Compared to the average legal driver, such drivers are 2.6 to 2.73 times more likely to cause a fatal crash, depending on the driver.

The study, Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers, took crash data over a span of 23 years. Researchers looked at the correlation among two-vehicle fatal crashes where one driver was at fault. The at-fault crash risk of drivers without permission to drive has not diminished over time.

The Department of Motor Vehicles found that people between the ages of 20 and 29 who do not have authorized licenses have the largest percentage of two-vehicle fatal car accidents.  

If caught with a suspended or revoked license or found to be driving without one, the citation can result in a 30-day vehicle impoundment, thousands of dollars in fines, and/or time added to a suspension or probation period.

A recent Public Safety checkpoint in the Rohnert Park area led to the arrest of 11, most of them for driving without a license or driving with a suspended license or while on probation. Only one of the 11 faced DUI charges.

The drivers were from all over Sonoma County, including Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park and Sonoma.


E OBrien January 10, 2013 at 06:56 AM
Don't impound, but sell the car at auction and 1 year in county jail. Second offense 5 years in prison. Responsible car owners deserve safe roads. It's about time we stopped dying at the hands of those who thumb their noses at the driving laws.


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