Unlike a conventional California driver license, the one issued to undocumented motorists will have distinguishing marks, most prominently “DP” will be stamped on it, standing for driving privilege. Some undocumented drivers and immigration rights activists have expressed concerns that motorists could be singled out for possible deportation or police harassment if stopped and asked to show the new license. Unrelated to the new law, some California cities, like Los Angeles, have special rules in place that prevent police asking about people’s immigration status. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)
There’s a big change coming to California’s driving rules. Because of the passage of Assembly Bill 60, or AB 60, by January 1st of 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles will make drivers’ licenses available to people regardless of their immigration status in the United States. The law is a reaction to the huge number of unlicensed drivers in California, many of whom are undocumented, and the public safety and insurance problems that creates for all motorists.
This has created a lot of logistical and public outreach work for the DMV. After all, those applying for a license must meet all the requirements of licensure and provide proof of identity and California residency. In addition, individual DMV offices, which can be frustrating on the best of days, have to be ready for a lot of new drivers coming in to take their tests and apply for a license.