Demand High for Nevada Driver Authorization Cards - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Demand High for Nevada Driver Authorization Cards

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Estimates show that as many as 60,000 people in Nevada are eligible to get a Driver Authorization Card. The law took effect January 1st and statewide 500 DAC tests have been given per day, since Thursday. It's modeled after a similar law in Utah that officials say has caused a steep decline in uninsured drivers.

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Angel Flores has lived in Nevada for 11 years. But he's never been able to drive legally until now. "I'm really excited because now we can be driving safe on the streets. Before that we were kind of scared to drive because we could get pulled over."

Driver Authorization Cards can be obtained regardless of citizenship as long as you can prove identity and residency in Nevada.

Officials say the cards are necessary since driving is a part of everyday life.

"You have situations where people have to drive to work or they're taking their kids to school, whatever it might be. These aren't leisure trips. These are necessary trips," says David Fierro of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

People have been lining up for Driver Authorization Cards since Thursday with many locations seeing double the volume that they do for driver's licenses. "On Saturday, for example, which was the first Saturday since the law was implemented, all of our offices offering written test were maxed out before the end of the day, and people were turned away because you can only handle so many written tests in one day."

The test can be taken in either English or Spanish. The normal failure rate for the written test is 57%. But that number has jumped to 71% for Driver Authorization Cards -- possibly because of preparedness. "They're not familiar with the driver's handbook, the exam and so forth. They're excited about getting in the car and find out, 'Wait a minute. I don't have the knowledge.'"

The bill passed, overwhelmingly, in the legislature with public safety in mind.

"We have many accidents where people just run away because they don't have a driver's license because they're scared of the police," says Flores.

"If everyone else knows the rules of the road better and they have higher rate of having insurance, that's really good for everyone on the road," says Fierro.

Part of proving your identity means showing some kind of documentation like a birth certificate -- possibly from another country.

If that document is in another language, it's the applicant's responsibility to have that translated before going to the DMV.

"We are seeing a few early trends," said DMV Director Troy Dillard. "Test scores are improving on the re-tests and the applicants are doing better on the driving test than they are on the written test," he added.

Dillard said the program is working the way DMV hoped it would. "The intent of the DAC program is to have drivers who are better informed and more knowledgeable about the rules of the road. That is happening. There is a learning curve for people not familiar with the rules of the road and those applying for the DAC are in a learning mode."

Dillard said he hopes the DAC will also lead to a higher percentage of insured motorists. "Our law was patterned after Utah's law and what they experienced in Utah was a significant drop in their rate of uninsured motorists. More insured motorists were a byproduct of the Utah law. If we can replicate that in Nevada we will have more drivers on the road who know the rules and have a higher rate of insured motorists. In the end, that would benefit all of us," he added.

(Reporter Paul Nelson and the Department of Motor Vehicles contributed to this report)

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