Web Content Viewer


Unlicensed Drivers Pose Threat On California Roads


Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

Follow DMV Facebook Twitter  YouTube

December 20, 2012

Unlicensed Drivers Pose Threat On California Roads

Sacramento -A new California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) study found that suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers are much more hazardous on the road than validly licensed drivers. The study, entitled Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers, found that compared to licensed drivers, suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash. The study also found that unlicensed drivers tend to be more hazardous than suspended/revoked drivers.

The study used crash data over a 23-year period and looked at two-vehicle fatal crashes where only one driver was at fault. The study found that the at-fault crash risk of suspended/revolved and unlicensed drivers has not decreased over time.

Among the Report's Key Findings:

  • Compared to validly licensed drivers, suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers are 2.60 and 2.73 times more likely to cause a fatal crash relative to their exposure.
  • The largest percentage of suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers involved in two-vehicle fatal crashes are those aged 20 to 29.
  • For drivers aged 19 or younger in two-vehicle fatal crashes, the percentage who were unlicensed drivers was almost four times higher than the percentage who were suspended or revoked.

The actual number of unlicensed drivers in California is unknown because these drivers do not come to the attention of the DMV until they are involved in a crash or convicted of a traffic violation.

Being cited for driving on a suspended/revoked license or while unlicensed can result in a 30-day vehicle impoundment, thousands of dollars in fines, time being added to a license suspension/probation period, or revocation of a license.

A DMV study by DeYoung (1999) found vehicle impoundment to be highly effective in reducing crashes among treated suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers.


Don't Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

Complementary Content