blog home Wrongful Death Unlicensed Drivers in California Have High Fatality Rates

By Renee Nordstrand on January 16, 2013

car driving down the roadway at dusk

A newly released study by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) shows that unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal traffic accident as those who drive legally. Although there is no hard and fast numbers as to how many unlicensed drivers there are in California, the DMV estimates that the tally runs in the millions.

Researchers for the DMV looked at fatal accident statistics for the years 1987 and 2009. They then divided those drivers into three categories: those who were licensed; those who were driving with suspended or revoked licenses; and those who never received a license.

One percent of licensed drivers were found to be the cause of fatal accidents in California, whereas about three percent of drivers who were unlicensed or driving with revoked or suspended licenses were found to be responsible for fatalities.

According to the study, there are nearly two million Californians at any given time who will have their licenses revoked or suspended. There are no reliable statistics on how many of those drivers continue to drive thereafter.

This data adds fuel to the fire of an already potent debate as to whether those driving without licenses should have their vehicles impounded by police if they are stopped for motor vehicle infractions. The DMV researchers concluded that impounding vehicles was “strongly justified … to control (illegal) drivers and to reduce crashes caused by those drivers.”

Whether driving illegally or legally, negligent, inattentive, and reckless motorists can cause automobile accidents, which lead to serious injuries and deaths on Southern California’s roads and highways. If you believe you have a wrongful death case, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand for a free, no-obligation review of your case. Let our experienced team explain what your legal option might be.

Contact our Southern California Offices in Santa Barbara (805) 962-2022 or in Encino (818) 981-3530 today.