Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today I voted in the affirmative on legislation to improve the safety of our roadways in our communities. H.4461, An Act relative to work and family mobility, supports public safety of the Commonwealth by ensuring access to driver’s training and insurance coverage for all residents.
For nearly two decades, legislation has been filed to provide immigrants who are without status, for a variety of reasons, the ability to receive appropriate training in operating a motor vehicle and obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license. Immigrants without status are essential members of our communities. They are our friends and neighbors supporting local businesses, participating in community activities, and comprise a large sector of the Commonwealth’s workforce. However, the inability to receive appropriate training and secure insurance in the event of an accident prevents these members of our communities and their families from safely accessing education, employment, or accessing basic necessities and places the community at risk on our roadways. Especially during covid, we saw a stark increase in the number of essential workers who weren’t able to continue employment or education or access medical treatment because they didn’t have a license.
By allowing all qualified Massachusetts residents to apply for a standard driver’s license, while keeping the Commonwealth in compliance with REAL ID requirements, this legislation increases safety on our roadways for everyone. This is a pro-labor, pro-work, and pro-public health bill. For us to move forward on this legislation is not only helpful to the individual receiving a license, but for every one of us the road.
Today’s legislation contains three primary benefits for the entire Commonwealth:
- Standardized Training – By allowing immigrants without status the ability to obtain a Massachusetts driver’s license, they will be required to complete the same driver’s education courses as all other residents of the Commonwealth; equipping them with knowledge of the rules of the road to improve safe driving.
- Standardized Testing – Additionally, this legislation will require immigrants without status to complete and pass the same Massachusetts driver’s test as all other drivers to verify that these individuals are operating safely.
- Standardized Insurance – Because immigrants without status are currently barred from receiving a Massachusetts driver’s license, they are also barred from registering vehicles and obtaining insurance coverage. In the event of an accident, this leads to little recourse to protect drivers and their families. In other states with similar legislation, such as California and Connecticut, incidents of hit and run decreased by 10%. This legislation permits immigrants without status to access insurance to cover cots in the event of an accident.
The Work and Family Mobility Act is a great example of how it takes many years to build a coalition and perfect legislation to pass a bill in the House. I want to thank the many constituents and community and grassroots organizations here in our community and across Massachusetts who were strong partners in this process.
This legislation now moves to the Senate for further consideration. I will continue to update you on the progress of this important legislation to improve public safety on roadways in the Commonwealth.