DMV: Thousands AB60 Drivers Pass Tests, Get Licenses

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SACRAMENTO-

It's been nearly a month since the DMV started issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants in California.

So far, 39,000 people have passed their drivers tests and received licenses. But hundreds of others have failed.

West Sacramento mother, Maria Rodriguez, is hoping to pass.

Rodriguez, who lives in the country illegally, has been driving without a license in Sacramento for years.

She's eligible to get licensed now, thanks to AB 60, which went into effect on Jan. 1.

FOX40 was there as Rodriguez went through the process.

"I'm really nervous. I hope I pass," Rodriguez said.

Under AB60, undocumented immigrants go through the same steps as every other first time driver - an eye exam, a photo, then the written test.

The first time around, Rodriguez did not pass.

Stressed and upset, she decided to retake the written test on the spot.

It's not uncommon to fail the first time.

The DMV says, initially, the failure rate was pretty high: 50 percent of the undocumented drivers who took the written test in English failed.

More than 60 percent of those who took the test in Spanish failed, but the DMV says those numbers were not discouraging.

"If you compare to other states such as Nevada, the first week it was probably in the 90s so we learned a lot from Nevada. We found out that the people were not ready to take the test, that the people were not even aware that there was a test involved in the application process," California DMV spokesperson Armando Botello.

The DMV believes the pass/fail rate will improve with time and that so far, things are going smoothly.

Since AB60 went into effect, roughly 13,000 undocumented immigrants have been licensed each week.

"We think its been very successful we've had a lot of people into our offices, the offices have been busy," Botello said.

Back to Maria Rodriguez, the second time around, she passes her written test.

A few days later, Rodriguez passed her final step: the driving test.

Now, she's a licensed driver.

"I recommend for everyone to study, use the driver's handbook and it's worth it, it's worth the time, it's worth the waiting, it's worth the nerves, everything," she told FOX40. "I think it's worth it and they should just go on for it."

Rodriguez and others who get licensed under AB60  will have to get insurance if they buy and register a new vehicle.

AB 60 licenses can only be used for driving and not for federal use.