Utah and Driving Privilege Cards – Worth the Controversy?
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UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021
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Utah has a history of giving out driving privilege cards for Utah residents that meet the legal criteria. A driving privilege card (DPC) is not common as it is a way for drivers to receive the legal right to operate a vehicle even if they do not have proper identification or a social security number. There is plenty of controversy revolving around DPC cards and whether or not they are a good idea.
State legislators and the Utah Insurance Department facilities the DPC cards as a way to keep uninsured motorists rates low. The state of Utah has a fairly low rate, 8%, of drivers who operate their vehicles without insurance. Part of the reason for this is that the DPC cards allow area drivers to easily obtain Utah auto insurance. Immigrants residing in Utah illegally would not otherwise be able to purchase a car insurance policy.
Utah gives out more than 41,000 DPC cards and has done so since 2005. Of that amount of cards, the State of Utah states that 76% of them could be matched with a local car insurance policy. Those individuals would not have been able to purchase the legally required auto insurance policies if the did not have the driving privilege card.
However, immigration reform debates have people questioning whether the decrease in uninsured motorists is worth allowing illegal residents easy access to identification. The question arises whether the DPC cards are encouraging more people to relocate to Utah illegally and keep from becoming legitimate American citizens. Local legislator, Senator Stephen Urquhart, has introduced a bill that would get rid of driving privilege cards altogether. Urquhart states that giving illegal immigrants DPC cards is unacceptable and simply makes it easier for illegals to live undocumented in Utah.
There is another bit of legislation being put together as well that targets the DPC cards. That bill would increase the costs of obtaining a DPC card. Currently, getting a DPC requires motorists to be residents of Utah (six months or longer), not on a temporary visa, either driving training or proof of driving privilege from another state or country, evidence of either a social security number of an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), evidence of identity, completed fingerprint card, and completion of a written skills test. This is quite a bit of documentation for a group of people who prefer to reside in the country undocumented.
Is it worth taking away DPC cards and risking raising the percentage of uninsured motorists in Utah? Uninsured drivers will ultimately cost Utah car insurance companies and legitimate residents and motorists more in car insurance costs.