Driver's Licenses

Failure Rates High on Written Driver’s License Tests

Photo courtesy of Ian L

Photo courtesy of Ian L

In the first weeks that driver’s licenses were available to undocumented immigrants in Nevada 71 percent of applicants failed the written driving test (Kopetman, 2014; Lopardi, 2014). The failure rate improved after the early days of implementation. In Colorado’s first week of license implementation in August 2014, only about half of those with appointments to apply for licenses received them, due in part to test failure (Schwarz, 2014). Officials and advocates in California and Connecticut, where licenses become available in January 2015, have stressed the importance of taking time to study for the test.

California offers written driving tests in 32 languages (DMV, 2011). Analysis of the failure rate on the Spanish-language test for first-time applicants for a “standard” license revealed that a large majority—three-quarters—fail (Reiner & Hagge, 2006 [pdf]). Half of first-time applicants fail the English-language test.


Photo credit to Ian L


About this project

The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these featured digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research relevant for immigrant service providers on the topics of Access & Use of TechnologyAccess & Use of Financial ServicesNotario Fraud, and Driver's Licenses for the unauthorized.


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