In the United States, millions of people drive without a valid license. Approximately, 70% of unlicensed individuals drive regularly and have a higher accident rate compared to their licensed counterparts. Those most likely to drive without a valid license include teenagers, the elderly, those with certain medical conditions (i.e. Heart conditions, epilepsy, etc), and immigrants residing in the U.S.
Furthermore, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1 in 5 fatal car accidents involved an unlicensed driver. Of these drivers, 6.7% were driving with a suspended license; 1.1% had an expired license; 5.0% never earned a license. These accidents resulted in 21,049 fatalities.
Why Do Unlicensed Drivers Get Into More Auto Accidents?
Statistically, unlicensed drivers get into more auto accidents; this may be due to a lack of education and training, or because they have a history of reckless driving. Generally, the state will suspend a license if a driver has a history of driving intoxicated; driving without insurance; accrues too many points on their license for moving violations; or if a driver has severely injured or killed another person. Simply put, these drivers have a history of endangering other drivers and pedestrians when on the roadway.
An Unlicensed Driver May Not Have any Liability for an Auto Accident
A driver will not have liability for an auto accident solely because they do not possess a valid license. For example, if you rear-end a car whose driver doesn’t have a license, you will be at-fault for the accident. Liability will be given to the party who acted with the highest degree of negligence in context to the auto accident.
How Will Damages Be Covered After an Auto Accident With An Unlicensed Driver?
Most insurance companies require proof of a valid driver’s license prior to offering insurance coverage. Therefore, it is likely that unlicensed individuals will not have auto insurance. Additionally, most auto insurance companies will not extend coverage to a driver driving with a suspended license. Meaning, if a person continues to drive after their license has been invalidated, they likely won’t have insurance coverage if an accident occurs.
If you are in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have auto insurance, you can pursue compensation through your auto insurance policy, or you may initiate a personal injury lawsuit.
What if the Unlicensed Driver Was Driving A Friend’s Vehicle?
In this case, the driver may be covered by their friend’s auto insurance policy. Generally, insurance coverage follows a vehicle, and not the driver. For this reason, auto insurance companies often stipulate in their policies that a “driver with permission” will also receive coverage in the case of an auto accident. However, if the vehicle in question was stolen, or taken without express permission, the assumed coverage will not apply to an accident, if one occurs.
What Should I Do After An Accident with an Unlicensed Driver?
- Call 911 (for severe accidents) or Your Local Police Department (for non-emergency accidents)
- Check the Status of all Passengers and Other Parties (if possible)
- Exchange Contact Information With the Other Driver
- Take Photographs of the Scene Documenting the Damage to Both Vehicles
- Seek Timely Medical Treatment
Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!