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Driver’s License in the U.S.: Pressing Issue for the Country’s Residents and Migrants

When teenagers grow up into young, cars start to become important for certain goals. Several vital matters, for instance, getting to college or to a job often require a possession of a car. As a result, it is difficult for any American citizen to live without a driver’s license. Obtaining the driver’s license in the United States has been a pressing issue for the country’s residents and migrants for a long time. There is no universal standard for such type of education in America, which creates several problems regarding costs and who should pay for it.

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There have been many accidents and hundreds of thousands of deaths due to poor driving skills. Those who were caught up illegally driving explained that they could not obtain a license due to the absence of such an option (Bates et al., 2019). For this reason, currently there are many young people across the country, who are caught up in a legislative dispute over this particular issue. It is essential to establish who should invest into driver’s education classes. There is an apparent need for a national standard since in several states the rules for obtaining a driver education in the country are different. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate why the U.S. should pay for driver’s education regardless of age and citizenship status.

First of all, it is essential to remember that such a problem is deeply connected with inequality and discrimination. It would be important to define the last term, which is an unjustified difference in rights and obligations of a person on a specific basis. It is prohibited to discriminate against people on the basis of sex, gender identity or expression of gender identity, because of religion, age, ethnicity or health condition. That is why this issue is one of the utmost importance to policymakers who wish to reduce the cases of discrimination.

The first reason why the U.S. should provide people with free driver education concerns teenagers’ ability to drive carefully. Primarily, the government should support those who live in low-income families. It can be explained by the fact that poor families often cannot provide any financial support for their children in getting a driver’s licence. There is no doubt that they cannot make savings in order to afford driver’s education for their child. However, it is not always the case that parents have no money to set aside. There are often times when such families cannot even afford to pay for their bills or food. For this reason, a driver’s licence becomes something unobtainable since it is a part of life that is not particularly necessary as food. As a consequence, due to the lack of experience, teenagers from such families are in a risk-group of having a road accident. Therefore, a trainer should offer control and flexibility to enhance one’s potential for driving.

Another reason to provide financial help to low-income families in order for them to obtain a licence is that this opportunity is not particularly about fitting in within a society. It also reduces the stigma for teenagers that comes from being left out. Young adults who have a driver’s license have more opportunities and someone without it can be bullied for the lack of such options. Several other reasons include easier access to a wider variety of jobs for drivers. This is connected to the fact that there are more jobs that require a car possession and it would be easier for teenagers to obtain and hold an occupation.

Moreover, the government should re-educate those drivers who were pulled over and admitted intoxicated while driving (DWI), so that they could improve their driving skills (Lyndel et al., 2019, p. 28). The final point concerns the inability of immigrant families who are arriving in the United States of America with no prior driving experience to obtain licenses quickly. This increases the uninsured rate and the number of unlicensed drivers, and it exposes law enforcement effectively.

In order to be more precise, it would be important to note that the integration of immigrants has always been a major issue for policymakers in America. There is a big number of immigrants who come to the United States to improve their lives. Therefore, it is vital to enhance integration for these people so that everyone could live in this country as equals. For this reason, several states have recently implemented new legislations that help immigrants to afford driver’s licenses even though those people are unauthorized. Those immigrants with their driver’s license from their native countries usually are permitted to drive until the expiration date. However, when it comes to updating their education, immigrants face a number of problems.

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As a consequence, these implementations have created a number of controversies and debates. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to evaluate the impact of such laws on the traffic safety impact. According to researchers, “as states have stopped funding driver’s education, participation has declined, and data reveals that it’s lower-income teens and teens of color who are missing out on this pricey rite of passage” (Vallei, 2018, para. 13). Driver’s education in the U.S. has long been deemed as an almost mandatory for teenagers, however, due to the described above problems, fewer of them participate. Therefore, the U.S. must implement a policy allowing immigrants to improve their driving skills to drive legally.

There is also an issue where people with disabilities have a difficult time accessing the driver’s education. For instance, people with mental disabilities are denied a driver’s license, not only for serious disorders like schizophrenia but also for some types of chronic depression. The reason for this is that general restrictions are used for all types of work associated with a source of increased danger. The list includes driving motor vehicles, which restricts the access to a driver’s license. However, there is no doubt that in times where any disease is in remission, if a person is adapted to a normal life, can work, he or she is not an obstacle to other. For this reason, people with disabilities can drive a car safely, but this is only according to the law. In reality, these people often face the fact that almost all of them are now deprived of the right to drive. This is repressive for patients and reflects common discriminatory policies.

The opposite view suggests that teenagers do not have to learn to drive at a young age. As for those who were admitted intoxicated, researchers note that noncompliant drivers and relapsers are more likely to offend again compared to drivers classified as abstainers or controllers (Bean et al., 2017). It would be difficult to re-educate them so that those who made offense will not relapse the next time. However, those who constantly abuse alcohol and substances should be offered mental and medical help instead of reeducating. The driver’s license should be provided to them only in the case where such drivers have gone through treatment. In addition, teenagers should enroll in a driving school as soon as possible to adapt to the road quickly and learn traffic regulations better.

The other viewpoint presumes that immigrants must not receive an opportunity to drive. This position is expressed in the research by Bates et al. (2019), where people express their concerns about immigrants not wearing seatbelts or and having high crash rates. On the contrary, they must legally learn how to drive so that they will not be pulled over, arrested, or even deported. The California reform enabled more than 600,000 unauthorized immigrants to drive legally in the state in 2015 alone (Lueders et al., 2017). Irresponsible behavior on the road leads to many cases of hit and run. As a result, numerous people suffer from injuries, which could be even fatal. For this reason, changing policy regarding driver’s education will provide benefit for the overall public well-being. In addition, reducing the number of accidents will also provide an impact on the economy because auto insurance market will certainly be affected since distortions will be adjusted. Providing education and an American license for unauthorized immigrants will be especially useful.

In addition, having a driver’s licence significantly improves the lives of immigrants. Researchers note that “the license reforms significantly improve job accessibility of potentially undocumented immigrants, in turn increasing vehicle ownership and employment rates” (Cho, 2019, p. 24). Many countries are currently engaged in a wide-ranging controversy about the problem of issuing drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants. However, providing education for them is an innovation that can considerably reduce the discrimination in the community. Furthermore, those who have the license will have an easier access to jobs and, as a consequence, they will have more opportunities to become rightful American citizens.

It is evident that there will be several issues in regards to people who violated traffic rules and have been admitted as intoxicated. It would take more than reeducating them before they could get their license again. However, after going through the treatment process and additional training they should be provided with a license on an equal basis. As for discriminating people with mental disabilities in this field, there are some controversial opinions. For instance, people who support depriving them of a driver’s license, say that those with various mental disorders should be limited in the right to drive for several reasons. The reason for this is that with a number of diagnoses the disabled lack many important skills such as an objective perception of reality, the ability to pay attention, and cognitive abilities. The emotional factor is also taken into account since many assume that people with mental disorders have a tendency for mood swings, self-harm, irascibility, and many other issues.

In other words, mental disorders are associated with troubles with thinking and emotions. These are the basic things that allow people to be adequate on the road and make the right decision. However, this point of view is discriminatory since many people with such issues are going through treatment. In the case of persistent remission for three years and if the diagnosis is removed, a person can get a driver’s license. But it is not so easy to remove the diagnosis, and there are no available statistics on how many people got rights due to remission. The basis should not be a diagnosis, but a person’s condition. For this reason, the system of restrictions for drivers with mental disabilities should be more flexible. In addition, it also should take into account the current state of a person, and not categorically deprive him of the opportunity to travel by personal transport.

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In conclusion, it seems reasonable to state that the United States should let all drivers obtain licenses because it will ensure that people may access necessities and contribute to the economy without living in fear. Such a policy will also increase revenue for the government and provide safety on the roads. The on-going debate should stop in order to provide the country with safety and comfort.

There is no doubt that further research is needed in order to come up with proper programs that should be implemented on a bigger scale, than just in some states. In addition, it would also be helpful to calculate the cost-effectiveness of such programs and interventions. Nevertheless, it would seem that every minority should have the right to an easy access to a driver’s education. That includes teenagers from low-income families, illegal immigrants, and people with mental disorders. For this reason, states should create programs that help such people in this matter in order to reduce the number of accidents. Such initiatives should provide more opportunities for minorities, such as an easier access to jobs and overall to improve lives of those who could not afford their driver’s education.


Bates, L. J., Larue, G. S., Filtness, A. J., & Hawkins, A. (2019). Simulators, driver education and disadvantaged groups: A scoping review. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety. 1-4116. Web.

Bean, P., Brown, G., Hallinan, P., Becerra, S., & Lewis, D. (2017). Improved recovery of repeat intoxicated drivers using fingernails and blood spots to monitor alcohol and other substance abuse. Traffic Injury Prevention, 18(1), 9-18. Web.

Cho, H. (2019). Driver’s license reforms and job accessibility among undocumented immigrants. [Thesis, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign] Web.

Lueders, H., Hainmueller, J., & Lawrence, D. (2017). Providing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants in California improves traffic safety. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(16), 411. Web.

Vallei, K. (2018). Driver’s ed is becoming harder for poor kids to afford. Pacific Standard. Web.

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