SAFETY FIRST! Safe Driving Bill Hearing and Press Conference Postponed Until March 5

Potential snow storm delays hearing on bill that would ensure all Massachusetts drivers are tested, licensed and insured

Feb 4, 2014 BOSTON —  For the second time in a month, a potential snow storm has delayed a press conference and hearing on the Safe Driving Bill, this time moving the date from tomorrow until Wednesday, March 5. The Safe Driving Coalition notes that the postponement prudently puts safety first — as does the Safe Driving Bill. The coalition of over 50 organizations from across Massachusetts supports the bill in an effort to improve road safety and to lower costs for all Massachusetts residents by ensuring all Massachusetts drivers are tested, licensed and insured.

"By removing immigration status as a barrier to applying for a learner's permit and taking a driving test, the Safe Driving Bill would reduce both accidents and costs," said State Senator Patricia Jehlen, the lead Senate sponsor of the Bill. "Not only would roads become safer, police and other officials who monitor our roads and highways would be able to focus on that safety first and foremost.”

Added Julia Koehler, M.D., of Clinicians for Healthy Families, "Parents taking their children to medical appointments often have no choice but to drive, and currently they have to decide whether they should risk arrest for driving without a license, or whether they should neglect their child’s medical needs. Either side of this decision is deeply harmful to the child and to the parents, and at present there are families all over the state who are making one or the other of these decisions. This is wrong and there is a solution for it: the Safe Driving Bill."
"I am testifying before the committee because the Safe Driving Bill would greatly enhance road safety, to better protect me and my children," said Carly McClain, a mother whose family car was struck by an uninsured and unlicensed driver. "If the gentleman who hit my car had had the ability to apply for a license, he might have then passed a road test that would have made him a safer driver, and carried insurance that would have reimbursed me for my deductible. States from Illinois and Colorado to our neighbors Connecticut and Vermont have passed laws to disentangle immigration policy from road safety. It's time for our state to do the same by passing our own Safe Driving Bill."

The Safe Driving Bill…

  • Saves Lives – By increasing traffic law knowledge, the Safe Driving Bill would reduce fatal road accidents and flight from accidents (and it would help first responders identify accident victims)
  • Saves Police Time and Resources – By reducing unlicensed driving, the Safe Driving Bill would free police to focus on their top priority, PUBLIC SAFETY.
  • Saves Court Resources — The bill would reduce the black market for false licenses, and reduce the number of people who appear for driving without licenses.
  • Deals with road safety and NOTHING else— This bill is practical. It does NOT give access to benefits; it doesn't give anyone a right to vote or work authorization.
  • Increases Compliance with Mandatory Insurance Requirements – the Safe Driving Bill would require all motorists to have mandatory liability insurance. As a result, states that have passed Safe Driving Bills have reduced their uninsured population.

The bill also enjoys widespread and growing public support:

  • Eight states plus the District of Columbia have passed similiar legislation IN THE PAST YEAR ALONE
  • A Fox 25 News online poll gathered almost 26,000 votes with support for the bill running OVER FOUR TO ONE.
  • Radio pundit Michael Graham also ran an online poll with over 70% SUPPORT for the Safe-Driving Bill


WHO: Speakers for the March 5 press conference tentatively include:
  • Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representative Tricia Farley Bouvier, Bill Sponsors
  • Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director, Brazilian Immigrant Center and Eva Millona, Executive Director, MIRA Coaltion,MCs
  • Lisa A. Wong,  Mayor, City of Fitchburg
  • Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor, City of Somerville
  • Sergeant Glenn Fossa, Fitchburg Police Department
  • William Joyce, former U.S. Immigration Judge
  • Ronnie Millar, Executive Director, Irish International Immigrant Center
  • Carly McClain, mother and Lynn resident
  • Valdirene Oliveira, mother and Brazilian Women's Group member

WHAT: Postponed Press-Conference Supporting "Safe Driving Bill" 

Massachusetts State House

WHEN: Wednesday, March 5, 12:15 PM

The MA Safe Driving Coalition includes over 50 organizations: The African Council; Agencia ALPHA; American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; American Friends Service Committee; Anti-Defamation League; Berkshire Immigrant Center; Brazilian Immigrant Center; Brazilian Women's Group; Boston New Sanctuary Movement; Brockton Interfaith Community; Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores New Bedford (CCT); Cleghorn Neighborhood Center; CEDC of Southeastern Massachusetts; Centro Cristiano Tiempo de Dios; Centro Bom Samaritano; Chelsea Collaborative; Clinicians for Healthy Familes; Committee for Portuguese Legislation; Congregacion Leon de Juda; Dominican Development Center; Essex County Community Organization (ECCO); Framingham Adult ESL Plus; Greater Worcester Immigration Coalition; Hampshire Franklin Central Labor Council; Harvest Ministries of New England; Iglesia de Dios de la Profecia de Lynn; Immigration Pastoral Center, Inc.; Imperial Auto LLC; Irish International Immigrant Center; Joyce & Associates, P.C.; Just Communities of Western Massachusetts; La Comunidad, Inc.; Latino Health Institute; Latinos Unidos en Massachusetts (LUMA); Metro West Worker Center; Midwest Grill; Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA); Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI); MIRA USA; Muqueca Restaurant; Merrimack Valley Project (MVP); New Lynn Coalition; Lynn Worker Center; REACH Beyond Domestic Violence; Maria Luisa de Moreno Int. Foundation; Neighbor to Neighbor (Worcester); Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE); Radio 650 AM; Rapo & Jepsen Insurance; 32BJ SEIU District 615; 1199 SEIU; SEIU Local 509; Spettus Steak House; Sonia’s Auto Car; Stephen W. Gersh Insurance Agency, Inc.; Temple Hillel B'nai Torah;UNITE HERE Local 26; Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice; Worcester Interfaith.

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