Maryland's woeful drivers

December 16, 2011

The GMAC Insurance National Driver Test continues to rate Maryland a bottom-10 state for "Licensed Drivers Knowledge of Basic Road Rules." And like Maryland, numerous Northern states, such as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, were part of the bottom 10.

Nearby Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia scored higher, and are not part of the bottom 10.

To me, Maryland's problem is a culture of political stubbornness in not weeding out thousands upon thousands of drivers not fit for driving. Testing for road rules and vision appears woefully inadequate.

State officials brag about Maryland's top public schools ranking by Education Week. Yet the truth is, many in-state diploma holders just cannot pass a basic, written "rules of the road" driving test and don't have appropriate vision acuity to get behind a motor vehicle's steering wheel. Too many are driving vehicles unlawfully as potential murderous weapons against the public.

Until Maryland officials and lawmakers truly choose to take action and make real progress, bad conduct by unfit and unchecked drivers leading to deadly crashes and nationally abysmal driver quality rankings will continue.

Steve Spacek, Germantown

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