Agency seeks to improve driver’s license failure rates

Author: associated press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s highway safety executive director says her agency is working through issues with the new written driver’s license exam as it tries to improve failure rates.

Terry Rhodes said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles officials are studying results and looking to get rid of bad questions, the Tampa Bay Times ( reported.

“I would just ask for your patience,” Rhodes said during a monthly Cabinet meeting.

The state shifted to a new 50-question exam in January. Statewide, almost three out of every five people who took the exam through June didn’t pass. The 41 percent pass rate is far below the state’s typical rate. The agency strives for a 70 percent pass rate.

Rhodes said the agency is printing a new driver’s license handbook, developing a teen study guide and increasing education efforts with schools and tax collectors offices where many of the tests are taken. She said the goal is to better prepare teens to take the test.

Rhodes said the new test better gauges a young driver’s ability to operate a vehicle than the state’s previous test, which she said was more of a memory exercise.

“We want them to study the manual,” Rhodes said.

According to the department, in 2010, teens were involved in more than 26,000 traffic accidents. That rose by 35 percent to more than 36,180 by 2013. Since 2010, an average of 78 teen drivers have been killed on Florida roads annually.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said he wants to make sure the test is asking the right kinds of questions in the right way.

“We are reviewing the test questions constantly,” Rhodes said.

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