May 27, 2011

1 in 5 Drivers Unfit For The Road: GMAC

More than 36 million Americans are unfit to be driving on US roads and would fail a driving test if they were asked to take one today, according to a new survey by GMAC Insurance.

The 2011 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test survey, released today, revealed that 1 in 5 drivers -- roughly 18 percent of Americans -- on the road do not meet the basic requirements to get a driver's license.

Even though those results may be shocking, it is actually an improvement over last year's numbers, when 38 million American drivers received failing grades. The nationwide average score on the test, available at, increased to 77.9 percent this year, from 76.2 percent a year ago.

"The GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test has become the benchmark for America's driving IQ," said Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer of GMAC Insurance. "All Americans need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road and it begins with education. We're hoping this year's GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe."

According to GMAC Insurance, the results mean that a large number of people driving still lack basic driving knowledge, an ignorance that may lead to dangerous driving habits. For example: 85 percent of those surveyed could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light.

However, the survey does suggest that good drivers may be able to avoid these bad drivers if they know exactly what to look for: Young people, women and motorists who live in the northeast.

According to the survey, 37 percent of women failed the test. Males, on the other hand, had only a 13.6-percent failure rate. The oldest of the drivers tested -- those between 60 and 65 -- had the best average test scores overall at 80.3 percent.

Northeast drivers scored the lowest on the test, while those in the Midwest had the best scores. The worst place for drivers was Washington DC, the survey found.
Wyoming scored the highest among all states, with only 5 percent failing the test.

With poor driving skills, many of these drivers run the risk of increased accidents, where they often come to the realization of their lack of knowledge on the rules of the road. By this time, however, it's usually too late.

The annual GMAC survey polled 5,130 licensed drivers from 16 to 65 years old from all 50 states and Washington DC. The 2011 test gauged driver knowledge by administering 20 questions taken from DMV exams. The test was administered online by TNS, the world's largest research agency.