Close to a half million new drivers are expected to hit California streets following Gov Jerry Brown’s signature on a new law designed to put driver’s licenses within reach of hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants.

The driver’s license measure will make illegal immigrants eligible to drive legally in California if they qualify for a new federal work permit program. That Obama administration protocol allows illegal immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, and who are now 30 or younger and meet certain other criteria, to obtain work permits.

Not everyone is happy with either the federal legislation enacted by the White House nor Brown’s endorsement of the law. they say the measure amounts to not much more than amnesty for people living in the country illegally. They also question whether or not allowing these people access to driver’s license and state issued identification will pose a safety risk.

Anyone now eligible for a California driver’s license under the new law will still be required to pass the same driver’s test now required of anyone seeking a California driver’s license. They will still be required to produce adequate proof of residency, pay all required fees and meet all existing requirements, so anyone who does receive a driver’s license as a result of this legislation will be as safe as anyone else behind the wheel with a California driver’s license.

However, now might be a great time to revisit your own defensive driving skills, especially if you live in California. Defensive driving means being prepared for any eventuality which comes your way, including the actions of all the other drivers sharing the road with you. It is impossible to know exactly what another driver might do, but if you drive defensively you will be better prepared than someone who just hops behind the wheel and hits the road without thinking first about just exactly what they might encounter out there.