Many drivers fail written tests, but that number may be higher than you realize. Recent results from CarInsurance.com show that half of 500 drivers failed to pass a test given to them. So, if you’re driving down the road and look at a driver next to you, one of you couldn’t pass. The test involves questions such as signs and rights of way. Most questions missed by test takers include when to stop for pedestrians and buses. Only two women and one man received perfect scores. Women averaged 78%, men 71%, and drivers under 40 scored worse, with an average of 67%.
The first driver’s license was issued in Mannheim, Germany in 1888. The first license in the US was 25 cents and a driver could get one by mail, without needing to pass any safety or skill tests. In 1903, Massachusetts and Missouri issued driver’s license tests, however they didn’t start testing until many years later. South Dakota waited until 1954 to mandate driver’s licenses, with tests starting in 1959. So, although the license is as old as vehicles, testing did not become common until more recently. Graduated driving systems have also altered the way licenses are given to teenage drivers, and the test to get those licenses have not changed much during the past decade. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the test was “weak,” especially when compared with other countries. There are 25 questions that take 25 minutes, and minimum passing requirements are 70-85%. Many states report a majority of its drivers failing the test. Missouri had 61% fail the written portion, while Mississippi had 60% fail, with Florida at 58%. Most drivers can re-take the test after waiting a day.
Considering failure rates for written and road tests, and surveys of drivers in each state, the NHTSA found that driving tests are mostly the same. The easiest tests were found to be in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Iowa. Many fail due to poor preparation, and a driving instructor advises that driving students read the road rules manual for their state and take practice tests.
For those struggling to pass, the good news is you can keep trying and failures will not be on your driving record. One driver in South Korea took the written test 960 times before passing. Autonomous cars could change the need for driver’s tests in the not-too-distant future, as well, according to news reports.
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is getting kicked off by the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy’s demonstrations and programs which hope to involve parents in a teen’s driver education. The number of 16 and 17 year-old driver deaths increased across the country by 19% in the first six months of 2012, says a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety association. They advised parents take a more active role in their teen’s education to prevent deaths. They are offering a free Parent Teen Workshop, and asking teens to pledge not to drive distracted, according to news reports.
Fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways are decreasing, according to PennDOT data. 1,310 were killed in collisions last year, representing the third-lowest number in historic record, and 24 more than in 2011. Increases in highway safety also led to fewer crashes. Driving safety requirements were signed into law recently, and fatal crashes involving a 16 or 17 year-old driver decreased to 44, 22 fewer wrecks than the year before. The law enforced training, limited the number of passengers and banned texting and driving, according to news reports.
According to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers tend to buckle-up less for local trip. It’s no big surprise the majority of car wrecks happen on local roads, but this information sheds new light into the use of seatbelts. Drivers are more likely to use a seatbelt during high-speed, longer road trips, says the data published in an issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention. If drivers and front-seat passengers used their seatbelts every time, and not just for longer trips, fatalities resulting from auto accidents would be lowered by 45%. 15% of drivers and front-seat passengers do not use a seatbelt, however. They conducted research in order to determine what make occasional seatbelt users only use their buckle half the time, said the research director of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Funding for the research project was provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffi Safety, and Virignia Tech used video and GPS to conduct research on 100 vehicles. The study represented the first of its kind, putting sensing and recording equipment in vehicles driven throughout Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. 299 secondary drivers and 108 primary drivers were involved in the research, with over 150,000 driving trips over the course of one year. Participants in the study answered questions include traffic collision history, age and education, along with personality to determine how much aggression and thrill-seeking they exhibit in order to see if they linked to the use of seatbelts. Their variables included time of day, trip distance, and speed. The group defined as occasional seatbel wearer was investigated further to determine why the wore a seatbelt in some cases and not in others. Drivers in 79.1% of primary driver trips and 81.2% of secondary driver trips wore seatbelts. Within primary drivers, infequent users wore a belt in 10% of trips, and consistent users wore theirs 98% of the time.
In an average trip speed of 30mph, 72.7% of occasional belt wearers were belted, but in trips that reached speeds of 50mph, 89% were belted. Road type was considered to be a factor, with more people wearing seatbelts on interstates than secondary roads. They determined that educational programs would help occassional users of seatbelts, while a driver who rarely buckles would be encouraged by laws. Other factors included higher education, older age, less aggressive driving, and a lower rate of trips were all factors that led to a higher likelihood of wearing a seatbelt, according to news reports.
Justin Bieber’s “reckless driving” is the reason behind an altercation with a neighbor. The neighbor confronted Bieber for driving his Ferrari recklessly around a gated community, allegedly reaching speeds up to 100mph. Residents were concerned for their children and pets. When Bieber arrived back home from a tour, he got into an argument with the neighbor and allegedly made physical contact. A battery report was filed and the case remains under investigation, according to news reports.
Teen driving fatalities are on the rise amongst 16-17 year-olds, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Research conducted by the Ford Driving Skills for Life program show that teenagers will duplicate their parent’s driving behavior, so parents need to help their teens become better drivers. Ford offered advice to parents such as talking to their teens about safe driving, buckling up, avoiding dangers such as drinking while driving, speeding, and distractions, along with defensive driving techniques and keeping their passengers to a minimum, according to news reports.
Legislation that penalizes drivers makes texting or calling could soon become law in New Jersey. Yesterday, the Assembly voted 72-2 in favor of stronger penalties. The fine for first-time offenders would increase to $200-$400, and second-time offenders would be fined $400-$600. Third-time offenders would result in adding points to their driver license and a possible 90-day license suspension. Those that sponsored the bill stated they hoped they would prevent drivers from texting and calling behind the wheel, and they said that 2 out of three survey takers for the AAA said they talked on their phones while driving. The bill also states the Motor Vehicle Commission must create an educational program to prevent using a phone while driving, according to news reports.
A report recently released in Australia says that children may be the worst distraction to drivers. The results of the study by AAA found that driving with babies is 8 times more distracting than driving with other adults. Whether it be loud screaming or yelling, the study performed in Australia found the driving with children is also 12 times as distracting as talking on a cell phone. Many parents will use a backseat DVD player or give their children tasks such as asking them to name the passing road signs, according to news reports.
An iPhone app was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, called SaferCar app. It helps users search for recalls and safety ratings on cars they are might purchase. Users can file a complaint, subscribe to notices, and get instructions on installing car seats. The US Transportation Secretary endorsed the app, saying it using recent technology to make sure drivers get all the information they need. The data will be timely and kept up-to-date using real-time access to information, according to news reports.
Police plan a blitz on California freeways in April to catch distracted drivers. Five years ago a law was enacted that made using a cell phone while driving illegal. Now police are celebrating the 5th year of that law by making sure drivers are obeying it during Distracted Driver Awareness Month. They are making efforts to decrease the 1.3 million wrecks that occur each year due to driving distraction across the country. In 2012, there were 400,000 tickets handed out in California for distraction, according to news reports.