According to a study released by the AAA Foundation of Public Safety, one in every five fatal crashes in the United States involves an unlicensed driver. Annually, about 8,400 deaths on average are caused by drivers without a license. According to the study, 28% of these drivers without a license have received three prior suspensions or revocations. The study mentions that people with a suspended license are more likely to be drunk while driving than a licensed driver. For example, “Fifty percent of all unlicensed and invalidly licensed drivers in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system”[A]. California’s policy of impounding the vehicles of drivers without a valid license and the technology of “smart cards” (in development) is an effective way to prevent unlicensed drivers from driving.
According to the study, these were the common characteristics among unlicensed drivers:
- One-third of unlicensed drivers are younger than 20
- Males are more likely to be driving without a license
- Unlicensed drivers are more likely to drive late at night or early in the morning
Drivers with a revoked license were five times more likely to be hit-and-run drivers.“Analysis of trends over the past 20 years shows that there has been an increasing trend in the proportion of fatal-crash involved drivers who were unlicensed” [A]. If you are a passenger, it is important to ask if your driver has a valid license. Moreover, ask if your driver has recently had their license revoked. It is crucial that you are aware of whom you get into a car with, especially if you are leaving a party where alcohol has been consumed.
If you were involved in an accident with an unlicensed driver, know your rights.
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