THE DRIVER LICENSE RULES TEST: THE INCIDENCE AND FAILURE RATES OF THE ORAL VERSION COMPARED TO THE WRITTEN VERSION

Selected license examiners were asked to keep a tally, for one working week, of the oral and written tests given to applicants for original licenses, renewals and permits. A total of 4,623 tests were tallied from urban and rural areas. Twelve percent of those tested took the oral rather than the written test, and had a failure rate of 44% compared to 33% for the written test. Therefore the proportion taking the oral test, and the higher failure rate, do indicate good research to evaluate the oral test format and content. The reason for the higher oral test failure rate could be explained by two not necessarily mutually exclusive hypotheses: 1) The oral test is harder than the written - in possibly both format and content. 2) Applicants taking the oral test, who are therefore illiterate or semi-literate, are less capable than those taking the written test. The sample could not control for factors such as age, sex, race, educational level, intelligence and socioeconomic status. However, the influence on the choice of oral test and the failure rate, by license categories and localities was explored. Rural areas had a higher total failure rate than urban areas. The rural failure rate was highest in oral tests. Compared to original and renewal applicants, permit applicants were more likely to choose the written rather than the oral tests, indicating a higher literacy level in young age groups. The permit failure rate was high overall, but highest for written tests taken in rural areas - possibly an influence of a lower rural educational level. The original license applicants had significantly higher failure rates in oral tests in rural areas. For the renewal license group - the largest - failure rates were significantly greater in rural areas for both oral and written tests.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  USA  27599
  • Authors:
    • McMichael, J
    • Waller, P F
  • Publication Date: 1973-7

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00127418
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 29 1976 12:00AM