I was interested and amused by the article "Va. Law Faces Test of Fairness; Immigrants Called Victims of Driver Licensing Rules" {Metro, Aug 22}. First, may I state that my father was an immigrant who came to this country from Italy at the age of 17 with $20 in his pocket. Not only did he come here for a better way of life and the chance of opportunity but to become an American.

Among the first things that caught my Dad's eyes were the shiny automobiles of the time, especially the Auburn. That would be an improvement over Giovanni, his pet bull, which supplied most of his transportation back in Italy.

Reality set in when he found out that in order to drive one of those fancy cars, he first must take a driver's test and learn the laws in English. Meantime, how was he going to get back and forth from his newly acquired job as a busboy on the other side of New York City? Another shiny vehicle, called a bus, became his temporary solution. He spent every spare moment, learning the language, learning the laws, and he proudly went back, took his test -- with no translator, it wasn't allowed back then -- and got that driver's license.

Why is obtaining a driver's license today any different? Yes, it is a necessity, but have we forgotten that it is also a privilege with great responsibility? I wonder if I could go back to Parma, Italy, my Dad's hometown, and ask that I be given the driver's test in English, since my Italian consists of little more than "prego"? I doubt it.

The bottom line is that if you cheat on your drivers license in Northern Virginia, no matter what your origin, you are a cheater and will pay the price. It is about time we do something to those who abuse the privilege and jeopardize the safety of those who got their driver's permit legally. Hats off to state Del. Leslie Byrne (D-Fairfax) for sponsoring a bill that may save the lives of not only the legally licensed drivers, but the many pedestrians, who take their lives in their hands crossing today's traffic-jammed roads. GINA CROCI STANWOOD Annandale