1/6 Drivers Would Flunk Written Driving Test

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
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1 6 drivers would flunk written driving test

And? Who amongst us didn't totally cram for that test? Anyway, the PR stat of the day comes from "The 2008 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test" [via CNNMoney]. The gekko-less insurer extrapolated data from a survey of 5,524 drivers from across the USA to conclude that 16.4 percent (or some 33m) American drivers would fail a driver's test re-do. Their call center clones asked 20 questions from department of motor vehicle tests. Apparently, an [unrevealed] number of drivers didn't know what to do when approaching a yellow light (floor it?) or the safe following distance when you're behind another car (one car length per bumper sticker). Talking points: drivers over the age of 35 were more likely to pass; women were more likely to fail. Northeast drivers sucked even more than respondents in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Kansas drivers rock! "It's encouraging to see that scores are beginning to get better," said GMAC Insurance's VP of marketing. "But there is still a lot of room for improvement." You can take some comfort in the fact that "nearly all of the test-takers knew how to respond to an emergency vehicle with flashing lights (get out of the way), what to do when hydroplaning (freeze), and how to interpret a solid yellow line (look for cops before passing)."

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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4 of 21 comments
  • Romanjetfighter Romanjetfighter on May 23, 2008

    I failed my test two times. Ridiculous amount of trivia. I cheated, too. I'm taking my 2nd driving test today. I failed the first one, too. It's information no one uses, anyways.

  • HEATHROI HEATHROI on May 23, 2008

    romanjetfighter just drive the test like a grandmother would - slowly. you'll pass. most of the complex european rules were designed to keep the lower clases off the roads. In a perfect world Insurers would test clients after all they are indemnifing them on the highway no need for a DMV at all

  • Nick Nick on May 23, 2008

    A more rigourous parking test would help. Here in Toronto, a co-worker recently passed her driving test to my surprise and dismay. She told me that the test wasn't that bad because when it came time to do the parallel parking, the tester said 'Don't bother' (end of shift, washroom break, who knows). So, the next time you are sitting burning hydrocarbons for 20 minutes while someone makes a dozen attempts to park, you know who to thank.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on May 24, 2008

    The only reasononly 16.4% failed is that the test is too darn easy. I know it was a long time ago, 1989, but when I took my drivers test I came in cold, not having even opened the manual the California DMV gives you to study. I got 19 out of 20 and was embarrased that I missed one, the questions were so easy.