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Study: 75 Percent Of Seasoned Drivers Would Fail Written Exam


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If you’ve been driving for twenty years and have a clean driving record, chances are you consider yourself a good driver. A recent study by LeaseTrader.com would beg to differ: according to their results, drivers with the most experience behind the wheel scored the worst on the sample questions used in the survey. 

Drivers with twenty or more years experience scored an average of 46 percent correct, while drivers with ten to twenty years experience scored a still-dismal 58 percent. Drivers with five to ten years behind the wheel didn’t do much better, scoring just 64 percent correct. Out of 500 motorists surveyed, not one answered all the test questions correctly.

Worse, more than 75 percent of those surveyed incorrectly answered four or more questions, which would have netted them a failing grade on the hypothetical driving exam.

The study also looked at the difference in responses between men and women drivers. Men scored an average of 59 percent correct on the survey, while women scored an average of 46 percent correct. There was a significant difference between men and women in the question most often answered incorrectly, as well. Men struggled to identify the correct action when approaching a stopped school bus with flashing lights on the opposite side of a divided highway (stop and wait for the lights to go out before proceeding).  Women struggled to correctly identify the speed limit on unposted primary and secondary state and federal highways (it’s 55 miles per hour).

The study seems to question the validity of current driver testing, and raises an even bigger question of driver training. Compared to many other countries, the United States has remarkably lenient standards for driver training prior to licensing, and many cash-strapped high schools are eliminating driver education programs altogether. While a thorough revamping of the system isn’t likely, the study may help to shed light on a problem that won’t be getting better any time soon.

[Lease Trader]

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Comments (9)
  1. I believe it! I was going through some drivers test questions with my neice (scary!) and I guessed a handful of them wrong. Probably enough to fail. Funny! It's a good think I'm an excellent driver.
     
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  2. @Troy, we'd all miss a few questions, especially those of us who've lived in multiple states. Still, it never ceases to amaze me how many drivers can't grasp the most elemental rule of highway traffic flow: keep right, pass left.
     
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  3. I moved here to Idaho in Jan.'11 and to get an Idaho driver's license after moving here you have to take their written test first. There were around 40 questions and I missed two or three. Passed, yes, but found it a little odd that Idaho even tested us. Not that odd-but a little odd. Anyhoo, happy with how I did on it, anyway.
     
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  4. "Men struggled to identify the correct action when approaching a stopped school bus with flashing lights on the opposite side of a divided highway (stop and wait for the lights to go out before proceeding)."
    Traffic Law:
    "Oncoming traffic must stop when on a divided highway with *no* center barrier"
    Around here, the definition of a "divided" highway is one that has a median, otherwise it's just a highway.
    Unless the test specifically said there's was no barrier, then the men were correct.
    My mom drove school bus for 15 years and she says the same thing.
    Sounds like the test got it wrong.
     
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  5. @isabella, I like where you're going with that. We can't force people to drive a manual, but I'm all for mandatory retesting every 10 years.
    As for the "same size car", I'd put something in the test that required drivers to know the width of their vehicle, like a 60 - 0 braking exercise with cones just one foot wider than their car. I'm amazed how many drivers don't have the slightest idea how wide their vehicle is.
     
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  6. Here's an idea. If you get a ticket and haven't committed an infraction in the last 3-6 years you can get the fine waived and points erased (within reason) if you go pass the drivers exam.
     
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  7. @Tom, I think that's a good idea, but a lot of municpialities wouldn't agree. Traffic violations are, after all, a source of revenue.
     
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  8. Good point Kurt. That may be part of the problem. Could they resist educating the public because that would hurt their revenue?
     
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  9. @Tom, call me a cynic, but the correct answer is always "follow the money."
     
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