My friends over at National Driver Training have created an app to allow Texas students to practice for thier permit test. For the time being, the app is only available on iTunes, but they are working on an Android version. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, check it out: NDT Texas Permit Test.
DENVER - Approximately 1,400 Colorado drivers learned on Thursday their drivers' licenses have been revoked. Letters from the Colorado Department of Revenue began arriving in the mail Thursday.
The letters told drivers, primarily teenagers, they needed to stop driving immediately and surrender their licenses to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
"I think it's unfair, not just to us, but a lot of people," Mary Diguardi of Highlands Ranch said. "My daughter's heard from other kids they're going back three years at least. It's inconvenient. These kids have jobs."
The letters also said drivers must provide proof they completed both a written test and driving test and pay a reinstatement fee. All of the affected drivers took classes at the American Driving Academy. According to the driving school's website, classes are offered throughout Colorado.
The people who got the letters told 9NEWS their birthdates on the letters were incorrect.
9NEWS tried calling American Driving Academy several times Thursday. The phone was either busy or kept ringing.
Mark Couch, a spokesman for the Colorado Dept. of Revenue, said the DMV was working with state and federal authorities as they investigate a specific driving instructor, whom he did not name.
9NEWS spoke with more than a half-dozen people who identified that instructor. We left a phone message on his answering machine Thursday evening and had not received a call back.
Meanwhile, teenage drivers and their parents are left with the hassle and expense of going through the licensing process all over again.
"Very frustrating," Kristen Elsner of Littleton said. "You have to pay to get them licenses again."
Buy ten, get 1 free? It's my right to pass the test. FAIL! You need lessons.
She needed a driving test. She showed up late for her appointment. She didn't have cash, but her mother came in to pay for the test. She couldn't find her red folder. The red folder had the important documents she needs to get her license. We checked our desks and we didn't have her folder. She checked her car, of course, it was there.
She got out on the road. She felt pretty comfortable. Passing the test was inevitable. She had done this before and it was not a problem. Sloppy hand position, sloppy lane changes, sloppy lane and speed management; surely this would not be a problem, after-all, she wasn't doing anything dangerous. Really.
The test is over. The tester begins counting her points (there are two ways to fail a test, automatic failures and point accumulation. It takes an obscene amount of points to fail by point accumulation). Her score was obscene +1. She failed. She wanted to see a manager.
In her defense, she states, "I have taken driving tests 10 TIMES and I have never failed before. What makes you think I should fail now?"
It is a good thing I was on the phone with a student or I might have replied, "You have taken driving tests 10 times before? What makes you think you deserve to drive?"
Apparently she thought that having taken 10 tests prior, she deserved a free pass.
(Note: She was 34 years old. If she took her first driving test at age 16, then over the past 18 years she has averaged 1 test every 2 years.)
The latest in a series of haiku poetry inspired by drive test failures.
She says she didn't speed. Yes she did, she sped three times. Sir, you are a jerk.
The girl came in today with her sister. She wanted a driving test.
Out on the road, she could not maintain a legal speed. 5 miles per hour over . . . 6 miles per hour over . . . 11 miles per hour over.
Obedience to the law is a vital part of passing a skills test. Unfortunately, her lead foot got the best of her.
Occasionally, after a failed test, a parent will call to defend the honor of their precious child. This time it was mom. She insisted her daughter did not fail. She explained that 4 previous kids had tested with us without a problem and this 5th child had practiced more than the others. She asked to speak to a manager-that's how I got involved. I explained that the fail was a result of traveling 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit but that she had also sped two other times. I also pointed out that the previous 4 teens who tested with us should be proof that we test fairly. Mom was pleasant when she got off the phone.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there. Mom called back about 20 minutes later. She had a question about what the tester had told her daughter regarding lane changes. I clarified the instructors explanation. Mom then returned to the issue of speeding. She insisted that her daughter did not speed. I reminded her that the girl sped three times. Mom challenged me, "You said she only sped twice."
"No," I replied, "I told you that she was 11 mph over which is a dangerous action and that she sped two other times." I continued, "Your daughter failed because she sped. She does not pay close enough attention to her speedometer. She needs to pay attention to her speed for the safety of herself and everyone around her."
"Sir," she said, "you're a jerk," and then she hung up on me.
In the following video, I describe the procedures for a proper lane change using "TLC":
The TLC lane change method is: Turn Signal (communicate with other drivers that you intend to change lanes) Look (check mirrors, and the appropriate blind spot) Change Lanes (smoothly transition into the new lane)
Today I got a call from a gentleman in Toronto Canada who disagrees with my TLC method. He argued that one must look first, before signaling. He based his argument on the large volume of immigrant drivers he experiences on Toronto roads. In some cultures, drivers do not signal before making a turn or lane change maneuver. The man insisted that you must look before signaling or someone could get hurt.
In America, where I teach driver education and conduct driving skills tests, the law requires a signal before a driver makes a turn or other maneuver. The reason for the signal is to communicate "intent" with other drivers and the signal should persist at least 3 seconds before the maneuver. Although many drivers here in Colorado do not signal properly, we should not train to the standard of poor drivers, we should train to the standard of the law. A driver should not merely signal just because it is required by law, rather, the driver must use the signal to communicate a message. A late signal is a worthless signal. If the signal happens during the lane change maneuver, the lane change itself communicates the driver's intention to move over. Such late communication is dangerous and unacceptable. The signal needs to be early.
The Canadian is concerned that I am not telling drivers to look first, before signaling. A good driver should be constantly aware of the driving environment (road conditions and traffic), but the intentional check for the lane change must occur just before the maneuver. Traffic conditions change fast and even if a driver looks before signaling, the driver must look again before moving into the new lane.
The Canadian and I were unable to come to an agreement. He was so passionate about his position, he refused he even consider mine. Once I discovered that I could not help him, I told him to have a good day and I got off the phone call.
I used to feel a strong sense of indignation when someone would harass one of my students during a driving lesson. I used to, that is, until last week.
I was giving a driving test to a young lady who is currently a student at the Air Force Academy. We use company cars for the driving skills test and they are labeled all around with "Student Driver". As we sat at a red light waiting to make I right turn, I looked to our left and saw the passenger in the car beside me. The passenger and the driver of the car were both in their late teens or early twenties. The passenger thought it would be fun to make faces at my "student". She crossed her eyes, stuck out her tongue and moved back and forth in the car. Fortunately, my driver was not aware of the circus one car over--even though the driver of the car kept moving forward to try to give us a better view of the passenger.
At first, I felt angry that this girl (who could not have been licensed more than a few years herself) would try to distract the young lady taking the test. When I looked back, though, I realized just how funny the trouble-maker looked--and some of the "funny" was her natural state of being. Instead of making a fool of my driver, she was making a fool of herself. She reminded me of Lisa Kudrow making faces at a little boy in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.
Of course, I have seen some mean people do some cruel things to student drivers, but for this day, I realized that happiness is a choice and it was better to laugh at the girl than to get angry.
A funny thing happened last week on a driving test. The test was not all that remarkable. The gentleman was an experienced driver who needed to re-test for his license. He had developed a habit of bad hand placement, but otherwise he was a good driver.
We stopped at one intersection waiting for traffic to clear so we could make a right turn. Suddenly, I heard a noise like a dull pop. The driver passed gas.
Flatulence, in and of itself, is not remarkable. This instance was funny, though, because the car alarm of a nearby parked began to sound right after the gaseous expulsion. Even funnier was the look on the guys face that said, "did I do that?"
Our office is located in close proximity to the driver license office. All day long, we have the opportunity to see people walking into the DMV to have a picture taken and a license made. Sometimes, people gather together in the parking lot and play club music from their cars. If they start dancing in the parking lot, we call it "Club DMV".
Anyway, you would think that people who are having a photo taken for an ID that will last 3 to 5 years would try to dress for the occasion--not in a suit or a fine gown, but at least show up in something better than pajamas. Over the years, I have seen a number of fashion mistakes -- some for driving tests, and some were walking next door. Here are some wardrobe tips for those of you seeking to get your license:
Way back in 2001, my wife used to conduct driving tests. A young man (late teens or early twenties) sat down at her desk to ask for a test. He pulled his shirt up toward his waistband to reveal a strategically placed hole in his pants. He came in for a test, but flashed my wife!!! Naturally, she refused to administer his test. She walked over to me and explained what happened. Behind her, The Flash quickly pulled his shirt down over the hole. For his outrageous behavior, he gains the dubious honor of being the first tip. Tip #1: If you must wear pants with strategically placed holes, make sure those holes are below thigh level.
A couple of weeks later, I did a test for a different young man. At that time, we allowed individuals to test in their own cars. the young man's dad accompanied him to our office and volunteered to bring the car up to the curb. I walked out just as dad pulled up in a big monster truck. Dad climbed out, wearing daisy duke shorts. As he extended one leg down to the ground, something dropped out of his shorts . . . Needless to say, I was glad I did not have to sit in the driver's seat. Tip #2: Real men don't wear daisy duke shorts.
A couple of months later, a woman who had recently immigrated from an Eastern Block country in Europe came to the office to get a driving test. She was dressed as though she was ready for work -- that is, if she worked on a street corner. She failed her test by running a red light. She tried to persuade me to pass her test, but I would not accept her offer. Tip #3: Dressing like the red light district does not give you a license to run a red light.
More recently, a young man visited the office for a driving test wearing a tail. Yes, a big furry tail on his back. Not only did he do a driver license test so he could drive a car, but he came back to do a motorcycle skills test -- with his tail flapping off the back on the motorcycle. He was the subject of watercooler chatter for weeks. Tip #4: Tuck your tail. We don't want to see it.