Public safety — State report shows legislation has had little effect in chiding some drivers to get the proper papers despite often heavy fines

By Sergio Cisneros, OPB, for the Northwest News Exchange

A recent state report indicates there’s been almost no change in the percentage of Oregon drivers who have no license or car insurance, despite changes to driver license requirements that took effect several years ago.

Since 2009, Oregon’s DMV and Department of Transportation has done annual reports on the impacts of a 2008 law on driving without a license and without insurance. The law requires people to demonstrate proof of legal residence to get a driver’s license.

The report compares drivers involved in accidents before and after the law took effect.

“What we’ve seen is little to no change,” said David House, a spokesman for Oregon’s Department of Motorized Vehicles. “Or, if there is a change, it’s within the margin of error when it comes to both driving without a license or driving without insurance.”

House says there may be a gradual change because most licenses are valid for eight years. He says some people may be driving now who wouldn’t qualify to renew their licenses when they expire.

Oregon voters will decide in November whether to grant driving privileges to undocumented immigrants who can’t prove legal residence.

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