States Are Making Progress on Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses

The benefits of expanding access to driver’s licenses are broad. When all residents have access to a license, public safety improves for the entire community. This includes safer roads, proper police records, a higher number of insured drivers, and reduced fear of interaction with law enforcement officials. Moreover, recent studies find that providing all individuals with access to driver’s licenses decreases the amount of hit-and-run accidents. In Connecticut, for example, after the state expanded access to driver’s licenses in 2016, the total amount of hit-and-run accidents declined by 9 percent over the next three years. Having a form of official identification also increases access to financial and public services, such as the ability to open bank accounts and use public libraries and city-owned recreational areas. Additionally, registrations for new driver’s licenses increase state and local revenue. In New York, for instance, license and car registrations from undocumented drivers are estimated to create an additional $57 million in annual revenue.