Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

16 Jan 2002, 7:45 a.m.

Today I try once more to get that fine card,…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Today I try once more to get that fine card, that signifier of responsibility and adulthood, that ticket into the polluting class, the driver's license. The test takes place around 11:15, in a few scant hours. Beep your horn for me.

While asking other people about their driving test experiences, I did not run into a single licensed driver who passed his or her ride-along exam the first time through. Even my father failed his first time! Leonard speculated that the DMV does not allow first-timers to pass, but what purpose would that serve? Such a policy would only incur more expense for the DMV, with only a slight uptick in the quality of new drivers. I'd rather believe that DMV examiners make people nervous, that first-timers are already nervous, and that practice helps an examinee remember the obscure test items (e.g., hand signals). To me, that's a model with explanatory power. And it doesn't require supposing a conspiracy among thousands of constantly disgruntled government employees.