English-Only Driver's License Tests in Missouri? House Committee Says Yes


A committee of the Missouri House of Representatives has approved a bill requiring that driver's license testing be conducted in English -- and only in English -- sending the measure on to the full House for its vote.

The House Transportation Committee yesterday voted 8-3 for the bill, following strict party lines, the Post-Dispatch reports. (And, yep, that means every Republican on the committee voted yes, which means the bill a decent shot of passage in the GOP-dominated House.)

A similar effort failed in the Missouri House last year.

Landlinemag.com reports that nine states currently limit drivers' testing to English -- but a host of states are considering similar bills to the Missouri proposal, including Montana, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Georgia.

Currently, Missouri allows potential drivers to take the test in one of twelve different languages (including Bosnian). Only drivers aiming for permission to drive big rigs are required to show proficiency in English.

The Missouri bill's sponsor, Republican Jerry Nolte, apparently told the P-D at some point that he's hoping to improve "safety" on the roads, not (as you might assume) make Missouri completely unappealing to immigrants.

We're looking for a study -- any study -- that shows a link between not speaking fluent English and bad driving. So far, nichts. Let us know if you know of any empirical evidence related to this effort, because at this point, we're pretty skeptical.

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