Last week GMAC Insurance released the results of its sixth annual National Drivers Test, finding that as many as 1 in 5 licensed American drivers (that’s 38 million drivers) would not pass a written driver’s test if they took one today.
For the second time in the past three years, Kansas drivers ranked first in the nation, with an average score of 82.3 percent, as compared with a national average score of 76.2 percent. New York drivers came in last at 70 percent. (For a map of all state rankings, look here; to view a listing of all state scores look here.)
The survey press release explains that “the sixth annual survey polled 5,202 licensed Americans from 50 states and the District of Columbia, gauging driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) exams. Additional questions explored distracting habits such as texting while driving.
“Overall, findings indicate a number of licensed Americans continue to lack knowledge of basic rules of the road; the national average score decreased to 76.2 percent from 76.6 percent in 2009. Eighty-five percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and many remained confused by safe following distances.”
They further indicate that “when analyzed regionally, the results reveal that drivers in the Northeast may not be as road-rule savvy as their Midwestern counterparts. The Northeast had the lowest average test scores (74.9 percent) and had the highest failure rate (25.1 percent). The Midwest region had the highest average test scores (77.5 percent) and the lowest failure rates (11.9 percent).
“Results also indicate that the older the driver, the higher the score. Males over 45 earned the highest average test score. Males also out-performed females overall in terms of average score (78.1 percent male versus 74.4 percent female) and failure rates (24 percent female versus 18.1 percent male).
“Additional questions from the survey reveal drivers conduct a variety of distracting behaviors behind the wheel; approximately 1 in 4 participants admitted to driving while talking on a cell phone, eating and adjusting the radio or selecting songs on an iPod. However, only five percent reported they text while driving. Overall, a significantly higher percentage of females than males reported engaging in the following distracting situations: conversation with passengers, selecting songs on an iPod or CD/adjusting the radio, talking on a cell phone, eating, applying make-up and reading.”
For more details, see the Executive Summary of the survey.
To take the National Drivers Test yourself, see this page on the GMAC website.
For the methodology of the survey look here.