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Georgia Considers English-Only Driver's Test — Why?

Georgia Considers English-Only Driver's Test — Why?

Georgia lawmakers may soon make trying to get a driver's license an even bigger headache for some residents. The state legislature is considering a bill that would require potential drivers to take the written test in English and without a translator. It seems like a silly idea to me.

Not only could this keep nonfluent speakers from getting to and from their jobs, it will probably lead to an increased number of unlicensed drivers on the road. And that puts English speakers at risk, too. In addition, critics argue that it further isolates non-English speakers, could discourage foreign companies from investing in Georgia, and unfairly targets minorities who can't benefit from the state's nonexistent public transportation system.

Proponents say the bill will increase public safety, since drivers need to read road signs. But the driving test and road sign test are already administered in English. Do you think it makes sense to limit the written test, too?


Join The Conversation
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
Start.Learning.English. period There are many illegal immigrants who are using translators to get driver's licenses in states. Why should you be rewarded for not learning a valuable language by getting a driver's license. I don't want someone who can't read English driving point blank. If you can not converse with the police in their native tongue when they pull you over for not reading a sign on the road, why would you even stop? I do not dislike immigrants I just think that making a million and one excuses for a group of people to live and abide by a set of rules and guidelines is ridiculous.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
"That's false the U.S.A. doesn't have a national language. which may be a problem within itself, every other modern country does i.e. France, Italy, even China" basty, you are presuming having a national language, and having an "offical" language means the same thing. English is indeed our national language, it is just not the "official" language.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Just FYI while I agree with Grandpa that in some cases i.e. in my job ( for an international company) English is the language in which a large percentage of business conducted in. I do have to strongly disagree with the statement that says English is the language of America. That's false the U.S.A. doesn't have a national language. which may be a problem within itself, every other modern country does i.e. France, Italy, even China
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
BTW yeah the illiterate provision is crap which also causes me to question the motives behind the law...I agree if you can't read or write then you are just as if not more dangerous than someone who doesn't read English well.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
"Not only could this keep nonfluent speakers from getting to and from their jobs" I disagree with that statement, there is no test to get a State ID therefore a person who couldn't take a Drivers Test in English would still be able to attain employment. It's always a slippery slope when a state law may "exclude" a certain group. However the signs are in English and therefore why shouldn't the test be in the same language? The alternative would be to make road sings multilingual. I deal with issues similar to this daily I work in a highly regulated industry and all the documents are in English and it is a requirement that all employees have a working grasp of the English Language i.e. basic reading/writing skills for certain positions.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I agree that immigrants should be able to read enough English to take the test in our language. And I disagree that immigrants don't have opportunities to learn English. We have so many free whatever language to English classes here that no immigrant should be able to claim they don't have an opportunity to learn.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
English is the INTERNATIONAL language of business. If a German business man sits down with his French counterpart, they speak English. They speak English even though they NOTH are fluent with the others language. English is the international language, that all traffic controllers in all countries around the world. IMHO we do a gross disservice teaching a bilingual course to our immigrant brothers and sisters.. English is probably the most important skill needed to succeed in America.
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 8 years
I'd agree with that Jazz Z
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
their = there
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
I think they should be able to take their test in whatever language they require, but their should be a section where they should at least be required to know english words they need for driving. Including those words that would be on traffic update signs such as accident ahead, etc.
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 8 years
Also, if someone moves to "America" (which by the way is a misappropriation) than it can't be their country of "origin" would be their adopted homeland and a citizen but not of "origin" that would be whatever their native nationality. Thanks.
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 8 years
Lastly, I'm not yelling (I know you mentioned in your post you thought someone could/might do that) but I just had to make this observation. Hope it helps you out. :)
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 8 years
...oh and another thing when people make comments like that ("...but if you decide to make America your country of Origin it's your responsibility to know our language.") Try to make immigrants sound discourteous for not knowing enough English, when they can't help it. You don't know what it's like for an ADULT to uproot to whole other country. If you have any ancestors that came through Ellis Island, more often than not, they knew very little English or none at all, and it was their children who learned the language and then have carried it on to theirs (ex:you).
ShelleyHFan ShelleyHFan 8 years
clarabelle98, sometime English classes aren't available to people in their native country, especially if they aren't wealthy. Mom only got English class two or three times a week for maybe an hour in small hometown...she learned after she arrived and slowly built up her skills in English. I would love to backpack through Europe - does that mean I have to study, say, five different languages thoroughly? I would definitely learn some basics but other times the best way to learn is when you through yourself into it. I want to learn Italian, I'll take some classes here but eventually I'll have to/want to spend some time in Italy to really cement it.
Colleeninator Colleeninator 8 years
I think this is silly. I'm not fluent in Spanish, but if all the road signs were in Spanish, I would certainly be able to manage. A large majority of the signs that have words on them (as opposed to symbols) are only names. If I can read and remember names like "Guadalupe" and "Rio Grande" then someone who doesn't speak English can read and remember things like "Congress" and "Oak Hill". They can certainly learn the small amount of words that actually show up on signs, like "Stop", "Slow", etc., not to mention the fact that most signs are designed with a particular color and shape to help convey their meaning, which is something you're meant to learn in driver's ed. I would sooner have people that can read in SOME language driving than people that can't read at all.
poissondujour poissondujour 8 years
I think this is a seriously bad idea targeted at immigrants who, on the whole, have enough difficulties assimilating. There is much more complex language on a driving test than one would ever need on the road. The fact that the illiterate can have a special exception makes it clear that this has nothing to do with the ability to read road signs.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Faylinn, The international symbols on signs, make life easier on the road if you know where you are going. I found as long as I knew the name of the town on the sign and arrow pointing I was OK, but much beyond that, and I often had to pull over and pull out a map to orient myself. In those countries that do not write in our Roman script, it was a nightmare.
Faylinn Faylinn 8 years
This is a bit much. I am by no means fluent in Polish, but I was still able to read "Stop" or 70 km/h on a sign when I was visiting the country. The amount of reading you have to know for a written portion is disproportionate to the amount you'll come across on the road. It'll lead to safer conditions if the state continued to use translators since there will be less unlicensed drivers.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
I think it makes sense. The road signs are in English. And Clara, I agree with you. When considering moving overseas it (to me) necessitates learning a new language!
clarabelle98 clarabelle98 8 years
I think it's a great idea! They have to be able to read the road signs which are in English. Plus, and I know this will probably get me yelled at, but if you decide to make America your country of Origin it's your responsibility to know our language. I wouldn't expect to go to France and have them have everything translated into English for me. I would learn French. I don't think it's asking too much if I expect the same from people living here.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I just want to point out what Citizen added, the road sign and driving test (aka road test) are adminstered in English.
Roarman Roarman 8 years
The illiterate provision makes it seem there is another reason to this law besides just trying to make the roads safer. I think why is a good question. Are the majority of accidents in Georgia due to people not being able to read the road signs due to a language barrier?
n9282 n9282 8 years
Myst I agree. Some things don't require reading per se - everyone can recognize symbols like stop and yield. But there are a lot of "keep moving" signs to indicate you have your own lane etc... that they should be able to read in order to drive. And that article mentions Georgia's nonexistent public transportation system? What? There is both MARTA rail and bus lines, not to mention the other commuter buses. It isn't DC or NY, but it is a heck of a lot better than Houston or other similarly sized cities.
Myst Myst 8 years
That would make sense to make sure people know English read it to drive and understand road sign, however the provision for illiterate people needs to be taken out as well. If you can't read or write, you have no business driving either.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
From the linked article: "a provision that allows illiterate people to have the written test read to them aloud prove the bill is not purely a public safety measure, opponents say, because it would allow some people who can't read English to drive." :? Seems silly to me to have such an exception in the bill. That doesn't promote public safety at all. Someone who can't read at all shouldn't be driving anymore that someone who doesn't know enough English to read a road sign!
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