A Few Facts About The Driver Card Measure

Article author: 
Amanda Peacher
Article publisher: 
OPB - blog
Article date: 
Friday, October 3, 2014
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

This week I published a story about Measure 88, a referendum on state law that allows driver cards for Oregonians who can’t prove they’re in the country legally. Read the full story here, but below I address a few of the most-discussed issues surrounding Measure 88 in more detail.

Would people who get driver cards be required to purchase vehicle insurance?
Just like any driver who gets a license from Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicles, anyone who wants a driver card will need to provide proof of vehicle insurance for the car they drive for the test.

But they don’t need to own the vehicle in which they take the driving test — it could be a parent’s or girlfriend’s car, for example. And just as it is for any other Oregon driver, there’s no way to force people to retain insurance after they purchase a policy. Any Oregon resident can cancel or renew insurance policies at will.

Has Oregon issued driver cards in the past?
No, but before 2008, undocumented residents could obtain driver licenses with the same rights and privileges as documented residents. In that year, Gov. Ted Kulongowski changed the requirements for obtaining a driver license via an executive order, making it impossible for undocumented residents to legally obtain driving privileges. Many undocumented residents who had licenses prior to 2008 have been losing those privileges as their old licenses expire.

Could Oregon driver cards be used as official identification?
There are a few fine points to dig into here. The Oregon DMV says that driver cards would be issued only to “grant driving privileges.” The cards have not yet been designed, so it’s not clear if they would include obvious language indicating that a driver card is not an official identification document.

As to whether or not the cards could be used to purchase alcohol, open a bank account or to board a plane? The DMV says decisions of whether or not the card could be accepted as identification would be up to each business, bank or the TSA official scrutinizing the card.

Could driver cards be used to get commercial driver licenses?
No, the DMV says they cannot be used to get a CDL, but someone with a driver card could get a Farm Endorsement (which allows for the operation of commercial vehicles for farm related purposes, within 150 miles of a farm).

Who endorses each side of the campaign?
A number of nonprofit organizations, labor unions, businesses and churches support the Safe Roads Yes on 88 campaign. Here’s the full list.

On the other side, Protect Oregon Driver Licenses is endorsed by several state representatives, the Sheriffs of Oregon Political Action Committee, and other local officials. Here’s the full list.

What other states have driver cards?
Ten states in the U.S. allow undocumented residents driving privileges through a driver card or license: Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, and Vermont. Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. also give driving privileges.