Catlin Gabel School, Catlin Speak
This November, Oregon voters will vote on Measure 88, a measure that would allow for people who are unable to provide the DMV with the necessary documents for obtaining a license with a “driver card”. Safe Roads Oregon is a campaign that combats the current restrictions on licensing by advocating for “driver cards”.
The majority of Catlin Gabel’s faculty and student body gets to school each day by car or bus.They share the road with an estimated 80,000 Oregonians who are driving without a license. Safe Roads Oregon is a campaign to combat the current restrictions on licensing.
The “driver card” is essentially a driver’s license but does not also serve as a federal ID. This means those excluded from being a licensed driver in the current system could drive legally but they could not buy firearms or board a plane. The card is good for four years and would only be issued to those who could pass the written and behind-the-wheel test mandated by the DMV. The difference would be that to qualify for the card one would only need proof of residence in Oregon for a year as well as proof of identity and date of birth.
To obtain a driver’s license, one must be able to provide a birth certificate or social security number. This includes all undocumented immigrants as well as elderly Oregonians who might have never acquired their birth certificate, transgendered people who don’t identify with the gender on their license, and many in the foster care system who don’t have all the documents that the DMV asks for.
Catlin Gabel student Maddy Bunnenberg-Ross ’15 recognized that it is often the aforementioned demographic that are constantly marginalized by politics.
Bunnenberg-Ross says, “I think passing this measure is essential because it’s not only safe, and beneficial for so many people, it is also fair. People who can’t get a driver’s license need to drive as much as people who can get one easily, and to deny all people safer roads because of your beliefs on immigration is terrible.”
The main argument in favor of the card is that people who have not been granted licenses are driving anyway. Allowing these drivers an opportunity to drive legally would mitigate many dangerous situations. For example, according to the Safe Roads campaign, states that adopted similar programs have seen a dramatic reduction in hit-and-run incidents because the penalties of reporting a crash are much less severe if the driver is licensed.
Supporting the equality of opportunity this measure could bring to the lives of those without documents, several Catlin Gabel students went to a canvassing event. They went door to door convincing people to pledge yes on Measure 88 in SE Portland on Saturday Sept. 27.
Catlin Gabel student and canvasser Eva Jahanshir ‘15 spoke about the importance of the measure, saying, “It gives many people who would be driving illegally the right to drive, keeping the streets of Portland safer.”