3,500 now driving legally with Nevada’s new driving authorization cards

CARSON CITY — Rita Sandoval, an El Salvador native, made a pair of mistakes Friday behind the wheel with an instructor by her side as she drove the streets of Las Vegas.

She stopped on the crosswalk in front of a stop sign and traveled too slow in a 25 mph school zone when there were no children around.

“I can’t believe I went too slow. Usually, it’s the reverse,” said Sandoval, 43, who now has to take the driving test again on Feb. 28 at the Sahara Avenue office of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The good news is she passed the written test a few weeks ago, so the only things standing between her and a coveted driver authorization card are a few adjustments.

“Si Dios quiere,” she adds, or “God willing.”

And when she gets it, she will be added to the short but growing list of those who are living in the United States illegally but are now driving Nevada’s roads legally under the new law.

Nearly 3,500 Nevada residents, the DMV reports, are now legally driving on public roadways since the program began on Jan. 2.

Another 1,600 instruction permits have been issued in a little more than a month of the program’s operation, according to data provided by the DMV. The data, which run through Feb. 4, shows 3,456 cards and 1,656 permits were granted by the agency.

The number of written tests taken by applicants for the period totaled 13,370, with another 3,588 skills tests administered under the new program.

Sandoval said she came to Las Vegas seven years ago with a visa. She stayed after it expired “for a better life.”

She said that the written test wasn’t too difficult and that the driving laws aren’t much different from her hometown of San Salvador.

“The biggest difference is over here there’s much more courtesy, and people respect the laws,” she said.

“Over there, it’s kind of a free-for-all, but the fines aren’t as costly as they are here.”

The driver authorization card program was established this year after the Nevada Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval backed the idea as a way to make state roads safer. It is modeled after a similar program in Utah.

Nevada residents who qualify for the card, which is honored by Nevada’s law enforcement agencies, must demonstrate knowledge of the rules of the road. Most applicants must take the written test, and many others must take the skills test, too.

While not part of the card application process, anyone driving a vehicle on Nevada roads must have auto insurance too.

Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol have not reported any concerns or issues with the new cards.

But wait times at DMV offices continue to be an issue because people seeking the card must apply in person.

DMV spokesman Kevin Malone said wait times at the several offices around Nevada have come down a bit over the past few weeks since the card debuted but remain higher than before the card was offered.

Demand for the skills driving test have caused delays, with appointments that were being scheduled one to two days out before the new program now being set for 10 to 12 days later, he said.

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, the author of the bill establishing the card, said Nevadans should realize that the program will benefit everyone.

“I am generally pleased that there is so much interest,” he said. “I think more people will apply when they hear about the success that other folks have had with the program.”

In legislative hearings on Senate Bill 303 in 2013, the estimate was that as many as 60,000 people in Nevada could be eligible for the card.

There was some fear initially that the process would be used to arrest or deport people who are not citizens, Denis said. So interest is likely to pick up now that those fears have proved to be unfounded, he said.

SB303 prohibits the use of the information by the federal government.

Denis said he has received some calls from constituents complaining about the increased wait times at DMV offices because of the new program.

It is a bit early to assess the effects of the program on auto sales, Denis said. But a report on the Utah program showed that not only were people getting the cards buying more cars, they were buying better vehicles, he said.

Wayne Frediani, executive director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association, said he does not expect the program to have much of an effect on auto sales in Nevada.

The number of driver authorization cards being issued is small compared with regular driver’s license requests. During the same Jan. 2 to Feb. 4 period, there were 70,007 regular licenses and 5,222 permits granted.

Passing the written test remains a challenge for card applicants. The DMV reports that from Jan. 15 through Feb. 4, the pass rate was 36 percent. That compares with a pass rate of 43 percent for those seeking a regular driver’s license.

Marisol Montoya, state director of Mi Familia Vota, a national nonpartisan organization working to improve civic participation by the Latino community, said the pass rate on the written test has been a challenge with the new program.

“So we are taking the responsibility to prepare the community better,” she said. “People did not realize that when they applied for the card, that they would take the test right away.”

The organization, which has offices in Las Vegas and Reno, holds a training session once a month for potential applicants to review the driver’s handbook, Montoya said.

Driver authorization cards, which are valid for one year, are $22.25 plus a $25 testing fee. If an applicant fails the written or skills tests, subsequent tests are $10.

Montoya, a Las Vegas native, said knowing that other drivers know the rules and are insured is a plus for all residents.

The people she has talked to about the program are happy to have it available.

“It is definitely a relief to people,” Montoya said. “People do want to comply with the law and drive legally. It is creating a safer community for everyone.”

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.

ad-high_impact_4
News
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like