I believe the driver's license test of today is no longer relevant. According to a study LeaseTrader.com conducted of 500 men and women, drivers with the most driving experience - more than 20 years - scored nearly 18-percent lower on driving tests than younger drivers.

This doesn't surprise me. I'm on the road every day, commuting to and from work, running errands, and test-driving vehicles. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that out of every five cars I pass, at a minimum, one of them (or 20 percent) is breaking the law. Bring in the factor of general, common driver courtesy, and I can count the courteous driver's I've encountered this past month on one hand.

On top of it all, is the fact that as times change, technology changes with it. New in-vehicle technology is not only impacting the driving experience on a creature-comfort level, but, I believe it is also requiring more technical skill while behind-the-wheel than ever before.

Current driving tests do not take into consideration whether a vehicle has some of the new in-vehicle technologies, such as a lane-departure warning system, blind spot monitoring, or attention assist, nor does it test a driver on the technology's application or use. Speaking with colleagues and fleet managers, the consensus is that dealerships are not educating purchasers on this technology, struggling at times to even explain what it does let alone how to use it.

Driving tests need to be updated to reflect modern in-vehicle technology, distractions, and how to operate or utilize such technology. Perhaps, driver education courses aren't just for "newbie" drivers. As the LeaseTrader.com study shows, the more driving experience you have doesn't necessarily mean the better you are.

We may "practice" driving on a daily basis, but I hold on to the fact that repetition can easily breed complacency, especially if drivers are repeating bad driving habits.

For more information on who commits fleet-related accidents and when they occur, check out my recent Automotive Fleet article, Who Commits Fleet Accidents and When Do They Occur: http://www.automotive-fleet.com/Article/Story/2010/10/SAFETY-Who-Commits-Fleet-Accidents-When-Do-They-Occur.aspx.

So, what do you think? Do driver's tests need to be updated? Should the dealerships be more involved in educating the driving public regarding new in-vehicle technologies? Or has the time come to realize that driver's education isn't simply for beginning drivers any longer.


Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor

Lauren Fletcher has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006 and is the executive editor of Work Truck magazine. With a particular focus on educational, tips and trends pieces in the vocational truck industry, check out her Truck Chat video series or Chatty Chassis blog for more!