In many communities across North Carolina, holding a driver’s license is crucial to accessing essential aspects of daily life, like employment, education, and healthcare. As the state continues to welcome immigrant communities from diverse linguistic backgrounds, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles still doesn’t provide driver’s license training and testing materials in many of the languages spoken by major populations of newcomers.
CWS encourages the North Carolina General Assembly to pass legislation such as HB 275 – DMV Materials in Additional Languages, requiring that the driver’s license handbook and written test be offered in any language that is the primary language of at least two percent of the state’s population, including Chinese, Khmer, and Spanish. CWS additionally urges the legislature to explicitly mandate the creation of materials in Swahili, French, Pashto and Dari, due to the significant communities who primarily use these languages.
Lacking other options, some people who have been unable to obtain licenses for lack of linguistic access have been forced to drive without a license to navigate daily tasks. Driving without knowledge of local regulations can put lives in danger and lead to interactions with law enforcement that exacerbate cycles of criminalization that already disproportionately impact newcomers.
It is critical that the state provides driver’s license training materials that are more reflective of the diversity of North Carolina to promote public safety and empower newcomers to engage more fully with their schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and communities.
Contact Your State Elected Leaders Today!
On the right-hand side, you can call or send an email to your North Carolina state legislators.
Sample Email: “I’m your constituent from [city/town] and [a faith leader/refugee leader/community member]. I urge you to support legislation that would require the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to offer driver’s license training and testing materials in Chinese, Khmer, Spanish, and any language spoken as the primary language of at least 2% of North Carolina’s population. The General Assembly should consider legislation such as HB 275 – DMV Materials in Additional Languages, to address this critical need.
I also urge you to support the creation of training and testing materials in Swahili, French, Pashto and Dari, due to the significant communities across our state who primarily use these languages.
In many communities statewide, holding a driver’s license is a crucial element of accessing essential aspects of daily life, like employment, education, and healthcare. As newcomers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds continue to choose to call our state home, the Department of Motor Vehicles still doesn’t provide driver’s license training and testing materials in many of the languages that newcomers speak.
I’m proud to live in a state that welcomes, values, and celebrates immigrants. I hope you will support measures to ensure that all newcomers, regardless of their primary language, can thrive and contribute in North Carolina.
My community welcomes immigrants and I urge you to do the same. Thank you.”
Amplify on Social Media: Amplify this message on social media using the sample social posts below:
- North Carolinians should be able to access driver’s licenses, no matter what language they speak. That’s why I urge the General Assembly to consider and pass legislation promoting language access at the DMV so our neighbors can thrive in and contribute to their communities. #ncga
- For many immigrants in North Carolina, a driver’s license opens doors to education, employment, and community engagement. The #ncga should take up legislation supporting language access at the DMV to make our state more welcoming to newcomers.
- Having a driver’s license makes it easier to put groceries on the table, attend doctor’s visits & get to work each day. The #ncga should pass legislation ensuring that language is no barrier to accessing a driver’s license in our state.
- HB 275 – DMV Materials In Additional Languages
- NC Demographics + Foreign Born Population
- Languages Spoken in NC
- HB 275 – DMV Materials In Additional Languages Talking Points
- Language Equity Concept Note
Thank you for taking action, and please share this alert with your networks!