North Texas Daily

Texas driving tests should be more comprehensive

Texas driving tests should be more comprehensive

Texas driving tests should be more comprehensive
September 18
12:00 2021

I recently came across a dashcam video on Reddit that was filmed by a driver commuting on a busy Texas interstate. It had been posted under the topic “r/facepalm” to assure me I would be disappointed with what I was about to see. The recording captured a car merging onto the freeway before forcing its way in between two vehicles in such an aggressive manner that only a Texan could manage to pull off.  It was made clear that our driving tests don’t prepare us for anything other than occasionally using our blinker and failing to parallel park.

In today’s day and age, there isn’t much that doesn’t have an online counterpart. Grocery shopping can now be done without the hassle of grocery shopping. New movie releases can often be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. You can even choose to take your driving lessons online to learn at your own pace. Everything is geared towards making things easier and more accessible for us. What could be better than that? Well, perhaps a more comprehensive driving test.

“The test takes about 20 minutes.” This sentence can be found in a pamphlet from the Texas Department of Public Safety regarding what to expect for the driver’s test. In a world where a person can spend an average of almost 38,000 hours behind the wheel in their lifetime, does 20 minutes sound like enough? The magnitude of this information really kicks in when you think about how many people drive on our public roads and highways. There are a lot of risks involved in driving to barely scratch the surface of what it entails.

Drivers are tested on a few very specific driving skills, according to the online driver’s-ed course iDriveSafely. As a naïve student, it may be a relief to know that the driving test isn’t too thorough. Check your mirrors, use your blinkers and don’t go over the speed limit. However, there is an infinite number of scenarios that could occur at any given moment. Just last year there was almost an 8 percent increase in motor vehicle traffic deaths. Learning the essentials is good but students need to understand the intricacies of driving ethics.

So what can Texas do to make their driving tests better? Firstly, if there is going to be an online option there needs to be some kind of regulation. Students may be more engaged if there are proctor-based programs put in place. In addition, the driving test itself needs to include more than just driving within a two-mile radius of the Department of Motor Vehicles. There needs to be a section of the test dedicated to seeing how well students drive on highways and major public roads. This is such an integral part of driving and students who learned online may not be up to par with traditional students who physically practiced with a staff member.

Ultimately, the Texas Department of Public Safety needs to ensure they are passing students who are truly qualified to drive. As of now, there is not too much faith in those around us because most people do not view driving as a privilege. After all, taking the time to teach and learn the more complex aspects of driving could determine whether or not you end up on a Reddit thread.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Rolando Medina

Rolando Medina

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