Letters to the Editor

Make licenses available to all

I heartily disagree with Kent Fletcher (The Herald-Sun, June 7). He would like to see traffic checkpoints reinstated in Durham, and gives the example of a checkpoint last weekend in Johnston County that found 40 people driving without a valid license. He's concerned about road safety, and has a point. The problem is that our undocumented neighbors, who work harder than most everyone else, who contribute enormously to our economy and pay taxes without hope of benefits – like Social Security – that the rest of us take for granted, are not allowed to take driving tests or buy car insurance.

This is entirely unfair, and was not always this way. Until the previous decade, a Social Security number was not required to apply for a license here: Anyone who passed the test could drive legally and buy car insurance. At least 12 states and D.C. currently allow undocumented people access to licenses and car insurance. North Carolina needs to join that group; doing so would drastically increase road safety and reduce insurance rates for everyone.

We don't yet have adequate public transportation for people to get to jobs or grocery stores, or take their children to school. They must drive and will continue to do so, with or without a license. Permitting driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status would guarantee that everyone who's driving knows the rules of the road.

Joan F. Walsh