A preventable tragedy | TheUnion.com

A preventable tragedy

The tragic Highway 49 accident on Saturday, Feb. 5, could have been prevented, and based on the details in “2 die going wrong way” (Feb. 7), here is my two cents: Recognizing the premise behind initial driver proficiency testing, wouldn’t it make sense to deny a driver’s license to those who cannot understand traffic safety laws?

When I failed my first behind-the-wheel test for my driver’s license, I interpreted that to mean that the state did not believe that I understood the responsibility associated with operating an automobile. Shouldn’t the same standards be applied to those who are being retested? And to counter the argument: “Who’s to say that all veterans of driving are jaded to safety laws?” Who’s to say that all 14-year-olds are physically and mentally unable to safely operate a motor vehicle?

Therefore, I would like to propose a preventative solution: adding a behind-the-wheel proficiency evaluation to the existing regular written and vision retests required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Scoring high on a written test does not necessarily denote proficiency in the actual skill. Such “real-world” evaluations could have positive effects on the safety of our roads.

James Winnfield

Nevada City

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