Driver License Manuals Best Practices

Each motor vehicle jurisdiction in the United States has an established process by which it assesses the required knowledge of driver license applicants to determine whether they are able to operate their vehicles safely and thus qualify for a driver's license. Corollary to that assessment process is the jurisdiction's responsibility to provide drivers with the information for which they are to be held responsible during the licensing exam and subsequently while operating their vehicle on our nation's roadways. The primary means of providing this information to drivers is the jurisdiction's basic driver license manual. This study was directed at identifying best practices with regard to the basic driver license manuals produced by motor vehicle jurisdictions. To identify best practices, three types of information sources were consulted: (1) driver license manuals produced by motor vehicle jurisdictions throughout the country; (2) driver safety information produced by relevant government agencies and private organizations; and (3) research, news, education, and popular literature. Of 212 knowledge items recommended by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) for inclusion in driver manuals, 119 were addressed by a majority (51% or more) of the manuals reviewed and are considered best practices in subject matter content. Additional topics that should be considered best practices in subject matter content are: intersection safety, particularly with regard to red light running; sharing the road with trucks, particularly emphasis on their "No-Zones"; road rage and aggressive driving; driver distraction; seatbelt usage, particularly with regard to the jurisdiction's primary or secondary seatbelt laws; and following distance, with emphasis on the need for a three- or four-second gap. With regard to factors other than subject matter content, it was found that most jurisdictional manuals (77%) are smaller than the 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. size of the Arizona manual, with 48% opting for the compact 5 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in. More than half the jurisdictions produce a version of the manual in Spanish, and more than a third of the jurisdictions produce a specialized driver manual directed at teen learners and their parents and encouraging parents' active involvement in their teen's learning process.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Partners In Brainstorms, Incorporated

    3420 E Shea Boulevard
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85028

    Arizona Department of Transportation

    206 South 17th Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85007

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Meyers, Deborah
    • Pryor, Debra
    • Pryor, Kathleen
  • Publication Date: 2005-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 157p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010927
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-AZ-05-553
  • Contract Numbers: SPR-PL-1-(61) 553
  • Created Date: Dec 1 2005 11:12AM