June 12, 2019

Assembly Passes Driver's License Access and Privacy Act #GreenLightNY

Speaker Carl Heastie, Transportation Committee Chair William Magnarelli and Labor Committee Chair Marcos Crespo today announced the Assembly has passed the Driver's License Access and Privacy Act, also known as the Green Light Bill, to create safer roads for all New Yorkers, boost the state's economy and protect hardworking New Yorkers and their families (A.3675-B). Until 2001, this fundamental privilege was extended to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.

"While opponents continue to spread misinformation and stoke fears about the bill's intent and consequences, the Assembly Majority will continue to put the needs of New Yorkers first," said Speaker Heastie. "The legislation passed today will promote public safety, protect our state's economy and ensure every New Yorker can integrate into their community and care for their family. Making sure that every driver is trained, tested and insured will make New York's roads safer for everyone and ensure that our industries have the labor they need to keep our economy moving."

"What many people do not realize is that undocumented immigrants are already on the road, but they are doing so without a license or insurance. Safe roads mean every driver is properly licensed, informed of traffic laws, passes a driver's test, and is operating a registered, inspected and insured vehicle," said Assemblymember Magnarelli. "Today's legislation will also allow police to verify motorist identity and review their traffic record. It is truly in the best interest of traffic safety for all New Yorkers."

"Today, the Assembly passed the Green Light Bill which aims to restore all New Yorkers' access to driver's licenses," said Assemblymember Crespo. "This legislation allows for undocumented immigrant New Yorkers, who contribute to our state economy in so many ways, to drive safely to and from school, work, and home. Not only will our roads throughout New York State be safer, but families of immigrants will have more peace of mind while their loved ones are on the roads. Thank you to the Speaker for his leadership and support, to my colleagues in the assembly, and to the advocates' unwavering activism throughout the state."

The Driver's License and Privacy Act would expand the types of proof of identity that could be submitted with an application for a non-commercial driver's license that does not meet federal standards for identification. An applicant without a social security number could instead submit a signed affidavit that they have not been issued a social security number.

Twelve states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license, many of which have reported fewer accidents and traffic fatalities. A 2017 Stanford University study found that California's law expanding access to drivers' licenses led to a drop in hit-and-run accidents between seven and 10 percent, or approximately 4,000 fewer hit-and-run accidents, and saving not-at-fault drivers $3.5 million in out-of-pocket expenses for car repairs.

Today's legislation would make everyday tasks such as getting to work, shopping for groceries or picking up kids from school vastly easier for an estimated 265,000 people in New York, including 64,000 north of New York City. The policy change would generate an estimated $57 million in combined government revenues that would recur annually, as well as a $26 million one-time boost in revenues as more people get licenses and