By on June 30, 2015

Cold Sunset Over Italy Circa March 2015 LQ

Over three years ago, I contacted Jack via private message on Facebook with a question:

Would my skills as a fashion blogger be of any interest to TTAC?

A few months had passed since I was let go (with everyone else) from my previous – and only – full-time job, and I wanted to take my writing to the next level by breaking into journalism, one way or another. Jack brought me aboard, and my journey began in April of 2012.

Nearly two years ago – just after Jack and Derek took over TTAC from ousted editor-in-chief Bertel Schmitt – Jack asked if I was in a place in life where I could start writing again; I disappeared during the summer of 2012, though I did keep busy in the interim. He also informed me I would be paid to write for the blog if I came back. Thus, with “Posse On Broadway” booming from the trunk, I returned in October of 2013.

Alas, all good things must come to an end.

The long version of the story?

* * * * * * * * *
As of July 1, you will have a new news editor joining this blog, whose duties will include what has been – until now – my duty in presenting daily news summaries from around the industry.

I don’t know who my replacement is or what they’ve done in the past – I didn’t ask – but I do know they have something I don’t: a driver’s license.

Seeking the most bang for their buck, VerticalScope decided they needed someone who could drive as well as handle the news, something I could not give my client when they were interviewing for the news editor position earlier this month.

This is what happens when I don’t finish what I start, circumstances be damned.

So, where will you find me now? My portfolio is a good place to start, especially if I can be of service to you and/or your organization. I will be writing for other publications, as well, particularly those where the only skills I need to bring to the table are clean copy, accuracy, and quick delivery.

And of course, I will finish what I started here regarding my license. After all, how else would I contribute more original writing to TTAC down the road if I’m still unable to drive?

* * * * * * * * *
Some of you will no doubt protest, perhaps to the point of firing off angry emails, Facebook posts, and tweets to my editor and/or the powers that be. While I appreciate the sentiment, you needn’t bother. Trust me on this.

I won’t miss waking up early/staying up late to scour the Internet for — and pitch to my editors — five articles per day, five times a week, wondering how well or poorly I reinterpreted what I read, or if the source in question was legit or meant to deceive. Nor will I miss the concept of citing someone else’s work in reporting the news; I would much prefer such content to come directly to TTAC, one way or another.

But I will miss you. I will miss you, dearest B&B, whether you gave me grief over how I wrote a given piece and/or headline, were pleased to see an original piece from me instead of the robotic/PR-ish/copypasta retellings, or gotten to know me through the comments while at your worst, and at your best.

And I will miss you, dearest TTAC Zaibatsu. You took a chance on a fashion blogger with a love of cars over three years ago, and for that alone, I thank you. And though I only met one of you in person the entire time I was here, I’ve enjoyed getting to know as many of you as possible, and watched you go places I can only hope to visit someday.

It has been an honor to serve you all. I will never forget you.

My sun sets to rise again.

(Photo credit: Giorgio Galeotti/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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129 Comments on “My Sun Sets To Rise Again...”


  • avatar

    All the best Cameron! Thank you for all your help.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Thanks for all of your work here, Cameron, and best of luck with your future endeavors. I didn’t know the details of your background prior to this piece but I always appreciated an outsider’s perspective. And if the post-Farago TTAC has taught the B&B anything, it is to expect and accept change.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Dang, I’m going to miss you.

  • avatar

    Cameron,

    Not that you need it, but best of luck in the future. You know where to find me if you need it.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    You’re a cool and brave person, Cameron.
    All the best.

    I don’t easily commend JB, but he did a Righteous thing to bring you aboard TTAC.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, there’s only one solution: get a license and come back soon!

    Best of luck…you’ll be missed.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Bummer. I really liked your interpretations of the news. I had no idea you didn’t have a car. You don’t need one to understand the auto industry.

  • avatar
    velvet fog

    Her??!!? I don’t know why I always thought you were a guy. Now I need to change the voice in my head that I used when I read your posts.

    Best of luck, I always liked your summaries, even the Hamptons spoof fiasco was good.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    You will be missed! I hope you will at least come back occasionally to contribute.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Good luck, I’m going to miss your posts here.

    • 0 avatar

      I may not be here like I was until today, but I’ll be back to visit now and again. In the meantime, though, you can follow my personal blog on my portfolio site (which has all of my feature and — soon — business writing) for updates!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Cameron,
    You handled that with class and dignity. May your sun always shine.
    And till we meet again.

  • avatar

    Well stated, Cameron.

    Hope you get your license soon, maybe if time permits you could post something about the first vehicle you buy after all that time in license exile.

    Till then, may your sun always shine. Thanks for your contributions to TTAC.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Best wishes for the future, Cameron. We’ll miss your work.

  • avatar

    All the best, Cameron! We’ll miss you.

  • avatar
    EMedPA

    Best of luck in your new adventures, Cameron.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    VerticalScope management team: “So, this woman has been doing this job for nearly three years? And she doesn’t have a driver’s license? WE CAN’T HAVE THAT! What will our readers think?”

    I’m convinced everyone at VerticalScope drives a first generation Scion xB, because it’s the perfect car for these clowns.

    Best of of luck to you Cameron. You did your job quite well, corrected mistakes willingly and often before anyone noticed, and showed some remarkably thick skin when dealing with some of the awful sexist, racist, and insensitive comments that unfortunately show up here way too often. I will miss your cheerful demeanor and am certain you will do well wherever the next path will take you.

    • 0 avatar

      Thank you for the kind words. When I return, I hope it’ll be behind the wheel of something that can more than smoke those xBs. :)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It doesn’t sound that complicated.

      -TTAC needs reviews
      -TTAC has decided that it needs a staffer to do the reviews
      -But writing reviews isn’t a full time job
      -Hence, the need to hire someone who can write the reviews part-time and blog the news part-time

  • avatar
    brianyates

    Cameron, many thanks for some insightful articles,best regards for the future.
    By the way, if you do learn to drive, start with a stick!.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Best of luck in where ever the road takes you.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Cameron, you’re a wonderful soul.

    Keep on doing your best and you’ll struggle a bit. But in due time you’ll find exactly what it is that will bring you enduring happiness in this world.

    All the best, and thank you very much for all you’ve done.

  • avatar
    jdh

    I skim the blog, and occasionally read the comments. I don’t think I have appreciated your work enough. And I certainly didn’t know your backstory.

    Thanks for your work here, and the best for the future.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I’m not sure why you just don’t get a license. Driving tests vary from state to state, but this is a typical example of a written exam:

    1. Write your name here: _________________
    2. Did you spell it correctly?
    ____ Yes ____ No
    3. Are you sure?
    ____ Yes ____ No
    4. Are you REALLY sure?
    ____ Well, yeah, probably
    ____ OK, I may need to think about it
    5. You see a thing with red and green lights. What does this mean?
    ____ I should speed up
    ____ It’s Christmas
    ____ All of the above

    Number of correct answers:
    0 – YOU FAIL
    1 or more correct – Congratulations!

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    I don’t know that I’ve ever made known my regard for your tireless coverage.

    The writing always seemed quietly confident enough that I didn’t feel the need to say anything; you seemed to know you were doing a pretty exemplary job at this, considering you’re one person and this is a quickly moving industry. You basically made Autoblog redundant for a while.

    This being the internet, you’ll find all types including those who take a factual or typographical error as a personal insult to their intelligence, and of course some will take issue with that what they don’t understand; but I don’t need to tell you this, I’m just hitting my keyboard.

    Thank you for keeping us informed, and I wish you the best.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    Cameron,

    thank you for your news and views reports on TTAC. I hope that you will return soon.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Sorry to hear you are leaving. Great work and best of luck for the future.
    BTW definitely learn with a manual. It’s like the difference between an SLR in full manual and a point and shoot camera. Both take great photos, the SLR can take some really bad ones but, the rewards, and, you get to learn what makes a camera tick and why a good photo is a good photo.
    Also, enjoy the Seattle summer weather :-)

    • 0 avatar

      If I find a manual, I’ll add that into my training. I’ve no expectations of finding one in a non-performance driver’s ed program, though.

      And I’ll do my best to enjoy the Seattle summer, though I’d prefer the highs to be in the mid- to high 70s, instead of the weather I thought I left behind in Louisville nearly two years ago. :)

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    You never really notice something that’s always there until it’s gone.

    You greeted me every morning when I got to work, I always appreciated having stories up early in the morning when I’m not ready to focus on responsibility yet. I never really focus on who writes it, but that’s probably a good thing. It’s nice to not always be punched in the face with opinions and satire.

    Thanks for all you did. See you when you get back.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Aw,that’s bad news. I enjoyed your writing. I don’t really understand why not having a licence & car should matter to someone who reports on automotive news. It’s not like you were doing road tests. Well, best of luck!

  • avatar

    Goodbye Cameron, your replacement will have a tough act to follow. You have done a great job of keeping us all abreast of the latest developments in the auto industry. You will be missed.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    You did a fantastic job, Cameron, and were calm & diplomatic under fire even when challenged/insulted by some for matters that I won’t specify, but were personal and should have been known to be off limits to those with common sense.

    Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    So no to representation for non-drivers. The notion that there are plenty of people who use vehicles extensively without ever driving them escaped the corporate overlords? No space for an expert dedicated to the pampered elite who are driven everywhere? The blind or folks with disabilities that mean driving isn’t an option?

    What we have here is an absence of vision.

    • 0 avatar

      I think Robb Report and DuPont Registry handle the “pampered elite with chauffeurs and black-car service” stories.

      Anyway, I’ll be fine. After all, if I can write about fashion without knowing all the ins and outs of the industry from the sketch to the runway, and write about cars without having regained my license after gaining more time behind the wheel, then I can do anything I desire.

  • avatar
    cornellier

    Thanks for all the fish.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I thought you probably did the best job out of anybody here doing the news posts. It’s a shame. Good luck to you in your future endeavors.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Aw man! I always enjoyed your news updates. Never had a problem with you not writing reviews because we have plenty of reviewers here.

    All the same, fare thee well! Don’t be a stranger!

  • avatar
    Steve Lynch

    Cameron, you could take the most mundane auto industry story and add an off-the-wall lead that would grab readers’ attention. To do that 5 times a day is flat-out amazing.

    Best of luck!

  • avatar
    Car-los

    Cameron thank you for your articles! You did a great job finding for us interesting and relevant stories!

    Get that driving license and come Back!

    And if you don’t come back I wish you all the best! (I’ll wish you all the best if you come back too!)

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    That sucks, you did a great job and it was nice to have a female amongst all us dudes.
    Best of wishes and good luck.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Cameron,
    I do wish you well in your future pursuits.

    I did find most of your articles interesting and had passed comment and judgement on most.

    I do think you have done a fabulous job for TTAC.

    I am currently in one of those fantastic locations in the world, the Dordogne/Perigord Region in France enjoying some great times. I having a well earnt rest as I have not had a holiday since Christmas:)

    Persistence and a belief in yourself will make you a winner. To win just does not translate to better others, but sate your expectations.

    Thank you again.

  • avatar
    7402

    Cameron, you had a good run. You’ll be missed. You’ll be replaced. TTAC will move on.

    As a reader since 2003, I can say that one of the best things about TTAC is the flow of writers through the blog. They come, they go. They return, they leave again. They take on editorial and managerial responsibilities, and they go back to just writing columns. They change their names and use pseudonyms or heteronyms. They research, they write. Time passes. The industry changes. Readers change. Cars change. TTAC evolves, but remains the informed and cynical voice it became within it’s first couple of years.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Goodbye, farewell, so long, until we meet again. Enjoy the road ahead.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Best wishes for whatever the future brings you, and I certainly hope to see an article in the very near future about earning your driver’s license!

    I admire your thick skin and unwavering courtesy – many of the B&B could learn a lesson or two from you on civility.

    It’s been a pleasure!

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    HuH

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It’s pronounced “Lew-A-Ville”. Good luck in the future

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll be sure to let those in charge of pronunciation know to add that one to the list the next time I’m in Louisville! Anyway, thank you for reading.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I thought it was Lew-UH-ville, but then I was hanging with a strange crowd when I ended up stranded in and around there for a few months during one of my on the road consulting projects. The several weeks I spent there were the longest year of my life.

      It did span Derby weekend, and an old Texas BS-er I worked with wangled invitations to just about every good thing about that weekend, based on a friendship he somehow struck up with a local couple with a bit of class…even got invited to the Governor’s breakfast without having to crash it.

      That was my life in the sunlight…the nightlife, limited as it was, was unlimited enough to make a chapter in my bachelor’s book of things I decided not to put down in black and white. But it was a pleasant respite from a not very gradually deteriorating relationship that had lasted many months, but was doomed to implode before many more.

      I even put up a small wager in a local book on the 15-1 or whatever it was long shot that won that year, which helped finance a bit more weekend debauchery with my Texas friend, a 300lb Texan in a maroon Cimarron.

      My diesel Rabbit was a bit more reliable, but he liked riding in hs “comfortable” Cadillac so we spent a lot of time in it, in between our explorations of both sides of central Ky.

      And while I didn’t find true love there either, I did truly find something that sufficed, until the real thing came along a couple of years later, when I least expected it.

      Turned out to be a vacation of sorts far better than I would have ever expected in a town where its only hotel lounge had just re-opened. It also closed weeknights at ten, a time I was accustomed to finishing my after work siesta before going out. And the stage for the local band was made of concrete and was so small that only the singer could stand on it…the musicians had to stand at ground level in front and to the side of that tiny stage.

      Fortunately my sidekick, Phil, also found out where the “real” night spots were, which was NOT a path to be found in triple-AAA brochures.

      The best antidote to a seemingly boring small town area is a good “Bad boy” buddy who has already scoped the place out.

      A strange interlude…and the smell of bourbon hung over the town of Frankfort morning, noon and night, from the several distilleries that were the prime industry in town. Even though I enjoyed bourbon, (a) this was for the most part not good bourbon, and (b) it is not a smell I wish to “enjoy” while brishing my teeth in the morning, and having my first cup of coffee.

      But I understand they made a heck of a lot of really good trucks down the road a little piece, over there in Lew-Uh-Ville…made a few Ford pickups in their time, I understand. Would have liked to have seen that, but never got far enough out of Frankfort long enough…and when I did, I was heading back to Virginia to see my dog and to preside over the end of another era of my life.

      But Lew-uh-ville and the surrouding area will always be like a brief interlude in between other, more substantial, parts of my life. Nice people, from many walks (and pub crawls) of life, but not much in the way of things to do and people to see. More like “things to see, and people to do,” but it was what it was…sort of an adventure, not quite a dream, but not really a nightmare either. More like sleepwalking out of one part of my life, and then gradually into another, as it faded in my rear view mirror a few months after I first saw it in my windshield.

      A strange part of America…not truly great, but not truly horrible, either. More like a side show, while waiting for the real show to arrive. But it was more than boredom, and less than torture, though the entire above ground night life centered around that hotel bar, and the town had matching chain restaurants on the two sides of town…two McDonalds, two Long John Silvers, two pizza parlors, almost a perfect mirror image of each other.

      And now it is just a memory, but one clearly covered with a layer of sweetness and heat not expected, but found, between the slow places that made up the town and its people.

      Because if you haven’t guessed by now, I did manage to make another friend while I was there. A very beneficial one…and, like the road not taken in the poem, though this was the road taken, it made all the difference in that time and place. Could have been deadly boring…instead it was on the northern fringe of Southern Gothic.

      And for a time, and a space, it was enough. In fact, it was more than just enough. From out of nowhere, into my life for a time, and after several weeks, I moved on, and it was gone again. But while it was there, it created a whole space of its own.

      And on that note, I will put my head on my pillow, and let my mind wander back across the miles and the years…

      And it feels sort of like Bob Seeger’s Night Moves, as I do my nighttime rituals, and place my head on my pillow, in my home, which is both happy, and my home for many years, though it wasn’t even a dream, when I was “between relationships” to put it euphemistically, those many years ago, in central Ky.

      It was all and only about electromagnetism, with next to nothing else, but it was a strong and solid, if not clean and pure, electromagnetism, strong enough to bind that era in my mind to this day, while so many other things just before and just after it, and even around it, have fallen out of my memory, like sand poured out of a boot at the end of a hard day.

      Yet it still remains, not a point of longing, but clearly still a point of reference.

      Ten-four. Over and out on that one…

      But if I needed a rubric or a caption under which to file this, I might put this in the category of Unavoidable Contact, if Jack will waive any claims to infringement.

      For I walked through a door one evening, and there was no way that I would or could, or would want to, leave until that electromagnetic experiment had been fully conducted and repeatedly repeated, for verifiability and proof of concept.

      We only had one thing in common, but that kept it simple, with no complicating factors. Not the highest and best to which I have ever aspired, but certainly still something free of all illusion and deception…it was exactly what it was, so much so that other people who were generally immune to such displays, were surprised to discover the immediacy and incandescence of it, but no more so than we were.

      And each of us had lives and family obligations holding us in place, different places…and our lives would inevitably take us apart in time, a thing we both sensed from the start.

      But for a space a bit more or less than nine and half weeks, we were notorious in a space where people thought they were immune to shock.

      It was inexplicable then, and almost as inexplicable now. But one thing that it was, was that it was, regardless of what it was. It needed no name, it needed no boundaries or rules. It just needed to be, whenever it could, and it could be almost any time that we were free.

      Phil felt abandoned, but fully understood…and he had new friends in a nicer part of town, anyway. But for us, her and I, it was the riverboat gambler and the dancehall girl, translated into a different century, but still a story that would not conform to anything but its own logic.

      In the cafeterias and coffee shops of the halls of government, people whispered and joked about my “new friend”, but it was clear that it was more out of curiousity and jealousy than it was about any real attempt to delve into the inner mechanisms, or to try to impede it.

      I would have walked off the job and left the project hanging, before I would have accepted any mandate to change, and they know it. So they just pretended it didn’t exist, and that I just liked hanging out with bikers and dancers to pass time.

      Except the bikers were just cautious acquaintances, and the rest of the dancers were just scenery…but to have tried to step between us would have been to risk stepping into a force majeure, a force of nature, a hurricane or a tornado…and I neither intended to remember and tell this much, or even to deal with those feelings and memories from a different decade, a different place, a different time in the life of the person who was me, when I was a different person, and wore a younger man’s clothes.

      And there was a bit of sadness and longing as it wound its way to its end, but not emotion in the way it usually is expressed…we had never thought it could or would last, and were not surprised when it did not…we just knew we were slipping away, like a large ship casting off its lines, and slowly slipping into the waters of a bay, soon to continue off towards the horizon…

      It was not something that fit into any other part of my life. But it was a thing that belonged where it was, for as long as it was there.

      And it neither made me a better man nor a worse man…but it has left a mark deeper and more meaningful, in a way that cannot ever be described by words, even these words, a mark more personal and deep than the best ink anyone has ever had drawn on their skin. For that was it, we drew out our story on each other’s skin, in invisible ink, in a way that only we could see, and in a way that will never fade, though it never was in the first place, and could not remain.

      One summer, many years ago…a work of art, in a sense, made by two people, a temporary installation in the world, a permanent installation in our memories.

      If you have ever experienced something like this, you will understand, for it is a story that in one sense is universal…a Bridges of Madison County where the characters are different but the story is essentially the same.

      But if you have not, you have probably been one of those people who has said at one time or another “I don’t even see what they see in each other…they don’t seem to have anything in common.”

      Except they do, and we did. One thing, and one thing only, and it was more than just coupling…it was something that had to be obeyed, that had to be let to run its course.

      I have so many more things, and people, in my life now, a few who mean a great deal to me, and who do not and will not fade out of my life. But at that time, in those circumstances, it was all that we had, and it was more than enough.

      And if you don’t understand it, that is OK, because we didn’t understand it either. The only difference was that we didn’t try to understand it, knew that it couldn’t be understood, and knew that it didn’t need to be understood.

      It just needed to be…for as long as it was. And it was as real as anything that could be understood. No, it was more real than many things that are capable of being understood. It was so strong that it neither had nor needed anything of understanding about it.

      That is how it was, and that is how it is. And that is how it shall remain, in my memory, and likely in hers, for ever, a thing in its own place, and in its own way, for its own reasons, which needs no understanding or reason…it was and remains like a diamond found among the mud, which none can fathom, and only a few at most can hold, even for a brief while.

      For that brief while, we held a diamond between us, admiring it without even worrying about its beginning or its end. Just experiencing it while it was there, between us…in a state of mind not like that of those around us.

      And in one way, it is eternal, even though it has passed from between us.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    A curtsy, wow, no woman has ever done that for me before. I am truly honored.

    I loved Cameron’s writing. It is clear and concise, and I love the way she puts things into the context of the business of making and selling cars, and their cultures.

    I know she will find good work elsewhere. No disrespect to VerticalScope, but her writing is out of their league.

    I wish her every success. I will miss her articles. Good luck Cameron.
    :-)

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    So long Cameron,
    I too, was one of the uninformed that did not know of your status/gender until now. I had always assumed that you were male. This does not matter to me, just surprised me a bit. Perhaps that is kind of a compliment in itself – it did not matter. At least it is intended to be a compliment.
    I did not read the diatribe that occurred from a few misguided, ignorant, hateful (I could go on & on) individuals until you linked to it in this post.
    It seems easiest to be hateful when hiding behind a keyboard. I thought your response was measured, thoughtful and definitely needed to be stated.
    Good luck in future endeavors. I look forward to you getting that license so you can provide some vehicle reviews.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Thank you for all the hard work you put in here. You’re the best. Good luck with your next endeavors.

  • avatar
    claytori

    Regarding the “stick” training- If you are in the Toronto area where some of the TTAC staff hang out, there is a superb instructor named Carlos Tomas who operates a driving school called Shifters. Check out his website at http://www.shifters.ca . I used him for both my son and daughter.
    If you aren’t close, there may be specialist instructors in your area. PS- thanks for the great writing.

  • avatar

    No driver’s license? If you also had a few drug habits and needed to be paid in cash or have payroll checks made out to your brother to skirt alimony, you could be a finance manager at a Nissan store.

    In all seriousness, best of luck. I must say you handled that ‘Hamptons Police’ parody pretty well.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Your work will be sorely missed, Cameron. I rarely commented, but your articles have been continually educating me on the happenings in my industry (during my coffee breaks). Excellent work and I wish you luck in the future.

    Your (and other editors / contributors) quality was hands down the reason why this site increasingly became my one stop shop for automotive news.

  • avatar
    InterstateNomad

    All the best wishes in your future endeavors.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    WTF Cameron, don’t leave us, we need you.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Didn’t comment much, but lurked, taking in much of your work, and enjoyed it all.

    You seemed like an interesting and complex person just from the voluminous output. But having read JB’s story of his interactions with you, it is clear to me now that the story is even deeper than what has been seen on the surface.

    Clearly you are a marvelously talented individual, and one who has accomplished numerous things in a relatively short (so far) life.

    All the best to you in your new endeavors. I’ll be watching for more of your work here, as well.

    But beyond having a brilliant future as a writer, I also wish you a long and happy life.

    Not a huge fan of anime, but your choice of anime for your farewell was quite touching.

    You clearly never give up. Maintain your excellent track record.

    And let us see you conquer the inner workings of the driver test, too, please.

    All the best…

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    Cameron, my 21 year old son just took his written test for the first time. This is both to tip you off to a couple of “quirky” things about the written test, which I believe “fake out” most first time written test takers, and is also to suggest that such aspects of written driver’s tests make an easy target for a day on which you do not feel like suffering fools.

    Examples all center around the fact that many of the questions have much to do with the administrative process by which licenses are administered, and little or nothing about the process of driving itself.

    As my son pointed out, why would he have thought that he would need to memorize the amount of the fine for a particular type of traffic infraction? That it is against the law, yes. Perhaps some knowledge of the severity, such as passing a schoolbus vs. crossing a yellow line when the lane is blocked. But the AMOUNT of the fine? How does that make anyone a better driver, or serve to weed out the good and well-prepared new driver from the clueless one?

    Another odd one. What is the order in which the lights appear on a stoplight? Well, yes, both red, green, yellow and green, yellow, red are correct, whereas, for example yellow, green, red or red, yellow, green are not, but such word-based presentations can be confusing to a test-taker, while a direct question would test the knowledge just as well if not better. “A green light is followed by a red light and then a yellow light — True or False”, for example.

    And our son had no big desire to have to work to pay most of his money for his car insurance before he turned 21, so he chose to wait, meanwhile studying traffic patterns and driving decisions by serving as my navigator, while we discussed driving decisions at least twenty per cent of the time when we were in my car alone. (We didn’t bore my wife with the lessons, usually, when she was with us.)

    So he is well-prepared about such things as how to look out for black ice, a/k/a glare ice, how to watch for children playing in yards behind car fenders when driving in a residential neighborhood, how to spot an incipient bonehead move by another driver etc.

    But why would he need to study and know the licensing procedures and driving restrictions that only apply to new drivers under the age of 21? And worse yet, one of my favorites “The special sticker to indicate that a learner driver under the age of 21 may be one of the drivers of a vehicle is colored (red, pink, yellow, orange)?”, followed by a second one “Such an indicator must be affixed to (rear license plate, front license plate, the back of the rearview mirror, the rear window, the windshield on the driver’s side)?”

    Those questions alone are enough to cause enough wrong answers to use up a half of all the wrong answers you are allowed.

    And there are more that do not in any way make a person a better driver…they just test knowledge of DMV administrative procedures, such as how soon can you take a retest if you fail the written test, or the fine structure for certain offenses.

    Boy, howdy! I really feel safer knowing that our state won’t let a new driver behind the wheel after they have passed the written test, until they have demoed that they know how long they had to wait between written test attempts.

    The thought that such questions would not be on the written test lulled me into a false sense of security decades ago, and they did the same to my son last week, as they have done to just about anyone who took the written test for the first time.

    The second time written test takers go prepared to recite all the inner workings of motor vehicle administration and driver licensing, but it still doesn’t make them a safer driver.

    How many traffic violation points before you have to take a remedial safe driving course? If the driver is already close to being there before they even pass their written test, perhaps they still need to be weeded out, and not passed.

    Oh, and my favorite pointless question, which alcoholic beverage is the most dangerous one when driving? They all are, to an extent, and none should be used when driving. The amounts that go over the line should be known.

    But which is the most dangerous? My wife and I thought whiskey, based on the percent alcohol content. The correct answer, at least to the DMV, was beer, based on the fact that it is the beverage that was consumed in the largest number of alcohol-related fatal accidents.

    OK, maybe you don’t want the new driver to have a false sense of security about drinking “only” beer and then driving, but the right answer depends on what you mean by the most dangerous — the one that takes a driver out of their safety zone more quickly, or the one that is used by more people.

    The answer they want is the latter, but how on earth does that make a driver safer to know that more people drink beer and drive than drink whiskey and drive?

    Those questions alone represent more than ten per cent of all the possible points, and twenty points wrong is an automatic fail.

    Most people spend hours before their second test studying arcana in a hundred plus page book, reading about truck driver licensing categories, truck weight ranges, where to put stickers they will never receive or use, etc., and so have a much better chance of passing the second time.

    But it seems like a waste of time and taxpayers’ money to test new drivers about things that have nothing to do with their ability to drive safely and follow the law, and/or that only apply to certain special classes of drivers, for which the applicant is not applying. Do I need to know about motorcycle or truck safety and regulations in order to drive an ordinary car safely? I doubt it.

    But you, my online friend, Cameron Aubernon, will at least have a warning — study the arcana of the new driver manual … it will take more time up front, but will probably save you from having to take the test a second time.

    And I think you could get a heck of a funny perhaps April 1st true story about such questions, as a byproduct, if you wanted to.

    It could even be chalked up as a pro bono article, or a PSA.

    Good luck, though, especially with that first test…you will need it. But don’t feel bad if you don’t make the first one…seems it is almost designed to be sure to trip people up at least once.

    And don’t forget that red sticker that goes on the rear license plate of drivers much younger than we will ever be again…we must be clear about that, or we could end up being distracted drivers! I suppose…

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