ICAN unveils driver’s license campaign

ICAN driver's license campaign
ICAN conducts a press conference about the driver's license campaign on the steps of the Capitol building on President's Day 2015.

BOISE — This Presidents Day, members and staff of the Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) spent the day talking to their senators and representatives and held a press conference to unveil the driver’s license campaign.

The campaign aims to pass legislation allowing all Idahoans the opportunity to earn a driver’s license, regardless of legal status. According to ICAN, doing this would increase safety on the roads, promote dignity among all Idaho residents, and increase revenue for the state.

ICAN has done research for this campaign for over a year. The research has shown that allowing driver’s licenses to all residents means that everyone will be held to the same driving standards, and accident rates decline when drivers are tested and licensed. Allowing for driver’s licenses means that more people will be able to buy car insurance, driving rates down for everyone and increasing chances of insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Eleven other states, including Illinois, California, Washington, Utah, and the District of Columbia have all adopted driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, and four other states are currently considering it.

Many sheriffs have voiced support of the campaign, saying that it will make it easier for police officers to identify who they pull over if the driver has a license, and it would allow the officer to quickly pull up a background check to instantly assess any possible threats. It would save the cities money as well because the officers would not spend a lot of time investigating who they pulled over and trying to verify their identity. The driver’s license database is a significant law enforcement tool. In the event of an accident, emergency medical teams would be able to identify who they are helping.

As a result of the 16 visits with legislators on President’s Day, ICAN members were able to educate lawmakers about this campaign, and garner support for the draft of a bill. Although no one has yet committed to drafting a bill, so far, ICAN has received some bipartisan support.

The Idaho Community Action Network is a Social Justice nonprofit that works for social, racial, and economic justice.

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