Letters to the Editor: Don't force all seniors to take the DMV's ridiculous written test

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - AUGUST 07: A line of people wait to be helped at a California Department of Motor Vehicles Office stretches around the building at the South LA location on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
People wait in line outside a DMV office in South Los Angeles in 2018. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If a senior driver has received no traffic citations and been involved in no accidents since the last renewal, the DMV should mandate a vision test plus charge a renewal fee, and that's it. ("For drivers 70 and older, the road rage over DMV test questions continues," column, Oct. 7)

To put older, safe drivers through the ordeal of passing a test comprising questions that have little bearing on safe driving habits serves no purpose other than to create terrible stress. Losing one's driving privilege is akin to losing one's freedom. Thus, the pressure that older drivers feel while taking this high-stakes test is excruciating.

Save the DMV money and save seniors grief. Knock off the silly written test for drivers over 70.

Dave Sanderson, La Cañada Flintridge


To the editor: I have a degree in electronic engineering. In 1972, I was hired by the city of Los Angeles to prepare civil service exams for engineering and technical positions.

At that time, all promotional exams had written multiple choice-type tests. After a test was given, the candidates could review the answer key and file protests. I learned very quickly to carefully compose each question, and I consider myself to be an expert on preparing multiple-choice test questions.

Two years ago, I had to take the new DMV computerized exam. I studied for it and was ready, but the questions I was faced with were so poorly written that, for the most part, I couldn't figure out what was being asked. I had to take the test twice before I barely passed it.

Age has nothing to do with the problems that the DMV tests have. The people who prepare them are incompetent.

Larry Pearson, Burbank


To the editor: I’m an academic, and reading and writing are the fabric of my life. California laws and rules of the road change very little in the course of the three years between DMV tests, so it's no surprise that I've never failed the written test.

But I’ll be 90 on my next birthday, and at this stage a very great deal can change in one’s physical ability over three years' time.

I’ve long wondered, why not require people my age (and as "young" as 70) to take the road test, instead of or in addition to the written exam?

Mary Rouse, Los Angeles


To the editor: I too am over 80 years old and had to take the DMV written test recently. I failed the first time and approached it with the following method: Repeat the online practice tests until I can get 100% on all of them, and then take the paper test, not the computerized version. That worked for me.

The question that bothered me was about the maximum penalty that can be assessed if you attempt to flee from an officer. Exactly how does knowing that make me a safer driver? I would never do that.

Bruce Borden, Orange

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.