An Easy A?

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) For many a teenager, the greatest milestone is getting that drivers license.

But is passing the road test, enough proof that you're safe behind the wheel?

Volunteer TVs Gordon Boyd reports even some teenagers have some questions.

To borrow a phrase, your teenager's road test may not be, your father's road test.

We know tests vary state to state.

In Tennessee, they can vary driver to driver.

Tim Cagle, who passed a shortened road test says, "the renewal on my license had worn off, so they didn't know if it was current or not,
so I had to take the test all over again."

Cagle's having to prove he's okay to drive.

But his road test lasts all of ten minutes.

Four right turns.

Parkside, to Mabry Hook to Kingston Pike, then back to Center Park.

A mile and a third.

License examiners tell us Tennessee law allows experienced drivers shorter road tests, than those mandated for new drivers.

But West High School's Juliet Slutzker believes even her test, "should be a little more challenging, because I think, some drivers on the road today, maybe don't know as much as they should."

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says the proof is in the numbers.

Despite graduated driver licensing, Tennessee ranks six worst for deaths of teenagers of driving age.

No driver's ed required.

A parent's signature, the only proof needed for a learner's permit.

Slutzker says, "I had driven with my parents for awhile, but I missed a couple things my drivers ed teacher taught me."

Steve Huettle, Knox County Schools Driver Education says, "the time the state has to deal with the kids, it's very hard on them, but our road test is pretty vigorous, and if they mess up one time we fail them on it."

Capt. Don Jones with KPD says, "we actually take it a step further."

The past year, Knoxville Police have been giving licensed teenage drivers the CAT: Collision Avoidance Training.

"They've already shown some competency in driving. We want to build on that."

$125 dollars for eight hours of dodging, defense, and peace of mind.

Neither police nor drivers instructors will say whether they believe Tennessee's road test is a thorough enough.

But as Tim Cagle found, "I guess they have no idea if I could drive an interstate or not, they probably don't know if I can parallel park or not.
It worked for me."

Knoxville police offer their course every month, but you'll need to book ahead.


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