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Old Feb 10, 2002, 06:02 PM
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SteveB's Avatar
Ogden, Utah, United States
Joined Dec 2000
193 Posts
Driver's License

Driver's License

I've been in Utah for several years and always wondered why people drive so badly here. Well I think I know why, most simply have no clue what the laws are. I recently retired from the military and had to obtain a local driver's license. I went to the local DMV and requested the driver's license test. After the usual eye exam, I was given the following: a answer sheet, test booklet and a copy of the Utah Driver's Handbook. Everywhere else that I had taken a driver's exam, you studied the handbook and took a real test, ie you had to know the material. I asked why I was given the handbook, I was told "it's an open book test". I thought she was kidding until I heard her tell another person that they missed too many questions and to go look on page xx for the correct answer. I understand that I spent a lot of time overseas and things changed while I was gone, but this is absurd. I'm really curious now, but do any other states let you basically purchase a driver's license or is it just Utah? How about a informal survey - list your state and whether your test was from memory or open book. Thanks.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 06:28 PM
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Joined Apr 2000
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in south carolina, you are not allowed to use the booklet on the written test.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 06:30 PM
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Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
Joined Feb 2000
26,499 Posts
Nor in Washington State. Our drivers are still idiots, however. (I learned growing up in S. Cal. )

mw
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 06:34 PM
MK
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NJ
Joined Feb 2001
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NY and NJ, initial license: both are closed book.

NY, from another state: no test, just swap license.
NJ, from another state: retake the written, closed book.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 06:40 PM
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SteveB's Avatar
Ogden, Utah, United States
Joined Dec 2000
193 Posts
So far it looks like Utah is setting a new trend. I seriously hope it's not one that's followed by others.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 07:59 PM
H2OFLY
Portland Oregon USA
Joined Feb 2000
2,509 Posts
Oregon: Take the test (written) without benefit of an open book; then prove you can drive.

Terry
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 09:42 PM
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Houston, TX, US
Joined Jun 2000
1,652 Posts
It was not an open book test when I got my Texas driver's license. However, some of the driving laws seem to be optional or subject to interpretation. For example, the speed limit, especially on the freeways, is approximately 10-15 mph higher than posted and the use of turn signals is optional and usually discouraged.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 10:28 PM
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SteveB's Avatar
Ogden, Utah, United States
Joined Dec 2000
193 Posts
DaveG,
So turn signals are an option there too? Here you will routinely see the following:

1. Left turns at RED lights.
2. Driving without lights after dark (or using parking lights in place of headlights).
3. Driving without lights in rain, snow, fog, etc.
4. If you are driving too slow (ie the speed limit) you will be passed by someone driving on the shoulder.
5. You will yield to people entering the highway or be run off the road.

I could go on but you get the point. About the speeding, our neighbourhood watch has clocked people in excess of 50 mph on our 25 mph residential street.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 10:44 PM
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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Joined Nov 2000
6,291 Posts
In Pennsylvania young drivers must pass a test to get a learners permit. They must then log 50 hours behind the wheel over a specific time period-6 months I believe - before they are granted a license.
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Old Feb 10, 2002, 11:09 PM
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Palmdale, CA
Joined Oct 2000
13,499 Posts
In 1960 in Budapest, we noticed that cars (the few that there were in the communist paradise)almost always drove at night with the lights off! The "rule" was the first guy to flash his lights at an intersection had the right-of-way. Made travel by cab especially at night VERY much of an adventure!
.
As for denying a license.. That is SO demeaning!
Almost discriminatory! Where's the lawyers???
Think of the poor self-image that would foist on the applicant. After all, any idiot CAN drive. QED!
The laws and rules are just guidelines.
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Old Feb 11, 2002, 12:32 AM
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Melbourne, Victoria, Oz.
Joined Oct 2000
316 Posts
In some states in Australia you get your drivers licence on the back of special cornflakes packets at 16, and in others like mine you can legally drink and drive on the same day, your 18th B/day.
great hey. The hardest thing to teach the kids is that driving is a privledge not a right, and to behave on the road accordingly, (this is a gross example of the pot calling the kettle black!!!).

hugh
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Old Feb 11, 2002, 09:23 AM
Visitor from Reality
United States, VA, Arlington
Joined Dec 1996
12,788 Posts
MD has a 20 question "Vote for Joe" on a computer, need 16 to pass IIRC. If you don't speak English, no sweat, interpreters on site (who will probably not be coming along for the first few stop signs on the highway )

The 'driving test' is between 10 and 30 minutes in a parking lot course of parallel parking, backing into a parking space (In America ) and some L & R turns - no road test of any sort.

It takes more standing in lines than driving...

England's test, at least late 80's was about an hour in live city centre traffic, plus a quizz on the Highway Code. It was regarded as something of a token effort by many countries in Europe, I understand.

OTOH, I had a minor brush with hauling an American kid to all he fancied doing. If I'd had to juggle that for 16 years, I'd be inclined to get them a licence fast and boot them out the door with the car keys.

The above is something of a joke. There isn't a month goes by round the DC area without some kid showing off to his or her buddies just before killing them in a car crash. Seems acceptable colateral damage to pay for getting their kids out on the road, to many folks.
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Old Feb 11, 2002, 09:38 AM
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Melbourne, Victoria, Oz.
Joined Oct 2000
316 Posts
It's insane, as a society we send them to the best schools we can, pay many thousands of dollars to straighten, even and whiten almost perfect and usually servicable teeth, buy thousands of dollars worth of sporting gear, not to mention computers, mobiles, tats, piercings, many variations of hair and last but not least, cosmetic surgery. Then we moan about spending about 6 hours in total at weekends teaching them to drive and whinge about paying for a dozen or so lessons for them to do the most dangerous thing most of them will ever do???? and that's it, we just let them loose ?!!! Whats going on there? No wonder we are killing our children in cars. A drivers licence seems to be a licence to learn to drive on real roads alone. These days that is not enough.

hugh
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Old Feb 11, 2002, 11:11 AM
Senior Member
Houston
Joined May 2001
797 Posts
SteveB, you are quite right. On an extended road trip last summer the native drivers in Utah (and Idaho) were without equal. No other western state was even close.

DaveG, I've driven in Houston for 25 years. Turn signals are a sign of weakness here, partly because some drivers use them as a request for permission rather than a signal of intention. Also, since the freeway speed limits are being reduced to 55 mph, soon the faster drivers will be going 25 or 30 mph over the limit.
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Old Feb 11, 2002, 02:09 PM
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Houston, Texas
Joined Oct 2000
1,030 Posts
You gotta love Houston drivers it's kind of like a Nascar race if you get out of the fast lane it can be real tuff to get back in. 90mph door handle to door handle not for the timid. yea!
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