Saying it would increase traffic safety, a leading anti-car organization has thrown its support behind a bill to allow illegal immigrants in New York to get driver's licenses.
"Non-citizen drivers with verifiable, reliable forms of identification could then by tested on New York’s rules of the road, and be required to obtain auto insurance coverage, have their car inspected and maintain their vehicle’s registration," the non-profit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives wrote in memo in support of the bill.
Transportation Alternatives estimates that "tens of thousands" of illegal immigrants are driving without licenses on the streets of New York.
"Because these drivers are not subject to the same training and accountability standards as other drivers, they pose a significant public safety threat," the memo says. "Unlicensed drives are dangerous."
The memo cites a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Study that found unlicensed drives five times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes and more likely to flee the scene of an accident.
Eleven states in the U.S., including California, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut and Maryland, allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses.
Peralta called the support from Transportation Alternatives and the Worker Justice Center For New York "significant."
If signed by Gov. Cuomo, the legislation will extend to school crossing guards the same on-the-job protection that’s already extended to paramedics, sanitation workers, emergency room personnel, nurses and paramedics, as well as well as police officers and firefighters.
School crossing guards are essential to the kind of comprehensive street safety plan our children need and deserve.
By showing them the respect their job warrants and demonstrating that we have their backs, I am hopeful that we will be able to recruit enough crossing guards to fill existing vacancies and address emerging needs.