According to the GMAC Insurance National Drivers survey, approximately 38 million Americans with a valid license, roughly one in five, could not pass a written driving test.
Some 5,202 drivers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were given a 20-test question taken directly from standard motor vehicle driving exams. A grade of 70% or better was required to pass. Licensed drivers averaged 76.2%, down from 76.6% in 2009.
Wade Bontrager, senior vice president of GMAC, said in a prepared statement, “It’s discouraging to see that overall test scores are lower than last year.”
Almost three out of 4 drivers could not identify safe following distances, while 85% gave incorrect answers about the correct behavior when approaching a steady yellow light. Overall, the results show that drivers do not have a basic knowledge of the rules of the road.
Drivers in the Midwest had the best test scores with an average 77.5% with the fewest failures at 11.9%. The Northeast had the lowest average for passing at 74.9% and the highest failure numbers at 25.1%.
On a state-by-state basis, Kansas drivers had the best performance at 82.3% on average, while New Yorkers stood at the bottom of the list with an even 70%.