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In November, Oregonians have an opportunity to make our roads safer. We can improve our communities. We can improve our economy. And we can do it by voting “yes” on Measure 88.


This measure is widely viewed among law enforcement officials, civic leaders and advocacy groups as a common-sense public safety measure that will improve traffic safety, reduce the number of unlicensed and uninsured motorists on the roads, and keep our communities safe.

Measure 88 provides an alternative driver-card option for anyone who can’t get — or doesn’t wish to get — a traditional driver’s license. These applicants must undergo the state’s written and behind-the-wheel driving tests proving that they know the rules of the road. They must prove their Oregon residency and identity. But they won’t have to show their birth certificate or passport to prove citizenship.

This option means that all Oregonians have a safe and legal option to get to work, church and school. It will reduce accidents and make our roads safer. And since each licensed driver is required to get auto insurance in Oregon, Measure 88 protects all drivers on the road from financial loss.

As a retired police chief, this is the kind of policy of which I want to see more: one that directly improves Oregonians’ safety, increasing the number of drivers who have demonstrated knowledge of the rules of the road and have passed a driving test.

Ten other states and the District of Columbia have driver card laws — including our neighboring states, California, Washington and Nevada — and we’re seeing amazing results in those states.

In New Mexico, for example, the DMV reports that their rate of uninsured drivers decreased from 33 percent (pre-driver card) to 9.1 percent. Since issuing driver cards in Utah, they’ve seen real, measurable declines in total number of crashes and traffic fatalities.

As an Oregonian, I’m also moved by the impact Measure 88 will have on Oregonians around the state. We all know someone who will be impacted by this measure. Maybe it’s your neighbor, maybe it’s the mother of your child’s classmate in school, or maybe it’s the workers who ensure you can get the fresh Oregon produce you love and enjoy.

No matter your views on what Congress should do about immigration reform, I think none of us are holding our breath that it will figure it out anytime soon. In the meantime, we shouldn’t deny a mother the safe and legal option to take her child to school, or a father’s ability to take his sick child to the doctor.

It’s also important to note what the driver card doesn’t do. The limited-purpose and limited-duration driver card cannot be used as proof of citizenship, nor would it give cardholders additional privileges associated with regular Oregon driver’s licenses, such as the ability to buy a gun, vote or receive government benefits. It simply indicates that a driver knows how to drive.

It’s a smart, common-sense measure, and I’m proud to stand with the hundreds of small businesses, faith leaders, advocacy organizations, civic leaders, and other law enforcement officials who will be voting “yes” on Measure 88.

Ron Louie, who has more than 33 years of law enforcement experience, was Hillsboro police chief from 1992 to 2007, then served as Hillsboro’s interim police chief before retiring a second time in June.

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