Florida’s Driving Test a Struggle for Test Takers

Photo Credit: Widson Charlemont

According to state officials, a higher number of people are failing the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ revamped driver’s license test.

60 percent of people have failed the test within the first half of the year. Four out of five drivers were unable to pass the test in some counties.

A report by the Tampa Bay Times indicated that in the month of June, more than half of the test takers failed or gave up on the test.

Officials changed the 20-year-old test after noticing a large increase in teenage car crashes.

Longtime driver from Winter Haven, Fla., Gionni Paul, was surprised to see a change in the testing.

“I’m surprised that they changed the test but then again I’m not. It’s like the drivers on the road seem to get worse,” said Paul. “I think that I drive fine and I guess I can call myself a product of the old test.”

The Florida Sheriff’s Association identified that 25-30 percent of teen drivers will be involved in a crash during their first year of driving. Car crashes are the most common cause of death among teens. Studies have shown that stricter laws and restrictions lead to lower severe crash rates.

The old test consisted of 20 written questions along with a road sign quiz. However, the new test has 50 questions that integrate road rules and road signs as well as scenario questions. The objective is to have participants know more about driving instead of memorizing facts.

The amount of questions and the wording of the scenario questions are what throw the test takers off. According to driving instructor Merline Orphe, new drivers get frustrated with the amount of questions on the test.

“They may physically know how to drive and know road rules but it is usually the wording of the questions that throw them off,” said Orphe.

In order to pass, drivers must score 80 percent or better.

Jamal Metellus, who recently earned his license, said he was not overwhelmed by the test.

“I took the test and it really wasn’t that hard to me. I can understand how people can get confused but at the same time if you know how to drive, you should be fine,” said Metellus. “I didn’t know that there were that many people that can’t pass the test. I have even more confidence now.”

In the state of Florida, drivers that are under the age of 17 can only drive between 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Drivers with a learner’s permit must have a licensed passenger that is at least 21 years old in the front seat of the vehicle at all times.