Driver's License Training, Safe Highways Get County Support

October 6, 2015


SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian announced today that the County has funded the Day Worker Center in Mountain View to support a driver’s license training program. Simitian requested $20,000 for the Center, which was approved unanimously by the Board in June as part of the County’s 2015-2016 budget.

Following the passage of Assembly Bill 60 (AB 60) by the state legislature last year, undocumented individuals in California are now eligible to take the California driver’s test and receive a driver’s license. The County funds will support classroom instruction preparing day workers to learn the rules of the road and pass their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exam. 

The Day Worker Center of Mountain View will use the County funding to train nearly 500 of their workers on the rules of the road, and prepare them for their driver’s license test.

“As of January 1, nearly one and a half million undocumented individuals were eligible under AB 60 for driver’s licenses,” Simitian noted. “We need to make sure that these undocumented drivers are compliant with the law; and, keep the public safe by making sure that folks who drive are properly trained and licensed to do so.”

“There are more than two million undocumented immigrants in California. I’m pretty sure they haven’t all been walking to work, school, or the grocery store,” said Simitian. “So, I take a very practical view of the matter: putting aside the national debate on immigration, we’ll all be safer if folks who are already driving learn the rules of the road, pass the test, provide contact information, and make themselves eligible for automobile insurance.”

The DMV has already seen a dramatic increase in the number of residents lining up to take a driver’s license exam since the passage of AB 60. The DMV reports that as of June 2015, 355,000 licenses have been obtained under the new legislation.

Simitian said he’d, “heard this issue again and again” during his time in the State Legislature, and was “constantly frustrated by the extent to which ideological opinions about immigration seemed to trump common sense safety considerations.” 

“Hopefully, one day, we’ll have comprehensive immigration reform,” said Simitian. “But in the meantime, having unlicensed drivers on California highways helps no one.”

"I’m excited that we now will be experiencing AB 60 implementation at its best, thanks to the partnership of the County of Santa Clara and the Day Worker Center,” said Maria Marroquin, Executive Director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View. “The workers want to be licensed drivers, and now we’ll help them learn the rules of the road and develop safe driving skills." 

The Day Worker Center is a non-profit organization that supports the day laborer populations of Mountain View, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale, and provides job-matching services for hundreds of local homeowners and businesses annually. Ninety-three percent of the almost 500 workers supported by the Center are Latino, many of them living with undocumented status. 

Former Mountain View City Councilmember and Mayor Laura Macias, a Board Member of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, applauded the Board’s actions. 

“Our entire community is stronger when we tap the potential of every resident. That certainly includes driving a car safely on our roads,” Macias said. “Given the hectic environment on our roads these days, it’s in our best interests to see that drivers are fully trained, not denied proper education and knowledge.”



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