142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Transportation Policy as Health Policy: Implications of Michigan's Driver's License Policy for Latinas in Detroit, MI

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 4:50 PM - 5:10 PM

Alana M.W. LeBron, MS , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Angela G. Reyes, MPH , Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Detroit, MI
Amy J. Schulz, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Cindy Gamboa , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
William Lopez, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Educaiton, University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Cristina Bernal, MPH , Atlanta, GA
Background. In response to the REAL ID Act requiring verification of documentation status to recognize driver’s licenses as national identification, Michigan implemented a policy to deny driver’s licenses to persons who lack documentation, which may affect opportunities, mobility, and health.  This study examined the influence of this policy on Latinas. 

Methods. This study draws from 38 in-depth interviews with Latina residents of Detroit, MI, aged >18 who were immigrants or children of immigrants.  Interviews examined how, if at all, Latinas were affected by this policy, variation by immigrant generation, and health implications. 

Results. Women who lacked documentation described having expired or no licenses.  Those who did not have a license, and whose loved ones lacked a license described critical decisions regarding whether to drive and limiting their driving and mobility in response to this policy.  Several expressed anxiety about driving without a license to fulfill responsibilities as workers and caregivers.  Those without a license and persons with whom they associated described feeling vulnerable to discrimination when driving, renewing their license, or seeking or paying for services or assistance.

Discussion.  Michigan’s driver’s license policy has several consequences for Latinos, including: leaving undocumented immigrants without federal identification or any identification, reduced access to safe transportation, limited mobility, racial profiling, and vulnerability to other discriminatory experiences.  Understanding the health implications of this policy offers an important opportunity to identify health-promoting, equitable legislation.  Results could enhance understanding of resources that are inaccessible to undocumented immigrants, and implications for advocacy for non-driver’s license identification.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how transportation policy, such as policies to deny driverís licenses to persons who may lack documentation, may influence the social determinants of health for those denied licenses, their family, and networks.

Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized this study, conducted interviews and analysis and took the lead on the paper associated with this abstract. In addition, my research training pertains to the influence of social policy on Latino health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.