Should licensed drivers be re-tested every few years? Insurance study says one in five drivers has forgotten many basic traffic laws

It’s bad enough that many drivers on our roads today are operating vehicles while using cell phones, texting, eating or undergoing other distractions.

Now a new annual survey from GMAC Insurance shows that one in five licensed drivers couldn’t pass a written test that covers basic driving laws in the states where they live.

That’s not something to feel good about. Essentially, according to the survey, one of every five drivers who are operating vehicles on the road alongside you may not remember the most basic traffic laws.

Fabulous news as we all head out onto the highways for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, isn’t it?

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According to a story posted yesterday on, one in five licensed drivers – which includes about 38 million drivers – failed a 20-question written traffic law review test given by GMAC Insurance. The study, called the GMAC Insurance National Drivers test, included 5,202 licensed drivers from 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the story. The drivers were asked questions pulled from motor vehicle driving exams given in their states.

To pass the tests, drivers had to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly. The tests also included questions about driving distractions including texting and cell phone use while driving, the story said.

So what was the average score of the 5,202 drivers who were surveyed?

Would you believe a 76.2% passing grade, which is down from 76.6% last year, according to the story.

Should this perhaps be a call to action? Should we consider setting up mandatory re-testing programs so that drivers have to undergo a written review of traffic rules every five or 10 years to prove their mettle on the roads?

If it would be helpful, we at MyPhillyLawyer wouldn’t oppose programs like that if they truly could help drivers recognize and constantly think about the dangers that lurk on the streets when they are operating a motor vehicle.

Among some of the things drivers forgot were fundamental traffic rules, according to the CNNmoney story, such as the number of feet that are needed to maintain safe following distances and what to do when approaching a steady yellow traffic light.

The problem is, admittedly, that we take those tests once when we are first getting our driver’s licenses and then we never seem to look at those traffic law manuals again in our lives. It’s no wonder many of us don’t remember such things.

But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a good thing to review periodically for all drivers, no matter how long they have been driving.

This could be especially important nowadays since many drivers are already paying less attention due to all the distractions in their cars, from iPhones to complex car stereo systems to cell phones and more.

We all certainly want to be driving on the roads with fellow drivers who are paying attention and who have a clear and recent recall of the traffic rules that we all must heed to when driving.

So could periodic re-testing of all drivers make us all safer in our vehicles?

That’s certainly a topic worth reviewing and discussing on a national scale.

Maybe, just maybe, such a once-ever-10-year mini-refresher could help us all be better and safer drivers.

In the meantime, though, if you are the victim of a vehicle accident due to one of those less-than-properly-skilled drivers, remember that we at are here to aggressively represent you and your family in the event of someone else’s negligent conduct.

And oh, while we are enjoying this long holiday weekend, maybe you might take a few minutes and review the Driver’s Manual that’s filled with all these rules from the Department of Transportation in your state. There’s some good information in them that you can review about many of the traffic regulations you might have forgotten about over the years.

Drive safely, and let’s be careful out there.