Florida driving test

Is The Florida Driving Test Too Hard?

Is the Florida driving test too hard? According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, only 41 percent of test takers passed the test during the first six months of 2015.

Alarmed by one of the highest teen death rates in the nation, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety (DHSMV) decided to revamp the driving test for the first time in more than 20 years. Within a month of the introduction of the new exam, state officials were warning of an extremely high failure rate. Prior to the introduction of the new test, the failure rate was approximately 40 percent but after the new test was introduced, the failure rate rose to almost 70 percent statewide.

The old driving test actually consisted of two separate tests; a 20 question test on road signs and a 20 question test on road rules. The new test consists of a single 50 question test on both road rules and road signs. In order to pass, the test taker must answer 80 percent or more of the questions correctly.

Many are complaining that the new driving test has questions that are poorly worded, difficult to understand, or that have nothing to do with driving safety. Among the question examples in the Tampa Bay Times story was a question on how much it costs for a veteran to get a “V” designation on their driver’s license.

The driving test questions were created by a Nevada company called Solutions Thru Software. Some are complaining that the company has an incentive to make the test too hard because they receive a payment for each test taken through third party providers.

The state is trying to do a balancing act by creating a driving test that accurately gauges an applicant’s knowledge of driving laws while, at the same time, achieving a goal of a 70 percent passing rate. The state has changed or dropped some of the questions but, according to the DHSMV chief of staff Leslie Palmer, reaching a goal of a 70 percent passing rate may not be achievable this year.

The highest scoring county in Florida with 1000 tests taken is St. Johns County with a 57 percent passing rate. The lowest scoring county with 1000 tests taken is Nassau County with just a 32 percent passing rate.

What hasn’t changed is the need for future drivers to thoroughly study the Florida driver handbook if they want to pass the test. Applicants can also take practice exams online before attempting the real thing.

Read more: Failure rates spike after overhaul of Florida written driver’s license test