Does Your Driving Score Mean More?

Hannah Butts, J1 Reporter

70 points out of 100, minimum. That’s what it takes to legally get a driver’s license in the state of Missouri. It’s common among most teens to strive to pass this test and get on the roads.

However, some teens wonder just how accurately this test depicts them as drivers – if a 70 really means they’re bad and if a 100 really means they’re good.

“It’s testing for the bare minimum basics on ‘can you drive this car safely enough to function in our public road system?’ Not that you’re a great driver, it means, are you going to be good enough to have a license,” Clay County Sheriff’s deputy Justin Linard said.

It is said that practice makes perfect; however, the amount of preparation doesn’t always necessarily have to mean a higher score.

“I had my permit for a whole year, so during that time I just drove a lot to practice,” sophomore Olivia Robbins, who earned a score of 70, said.

Some may even have gotten lucky, being a naturally good driver from the start.

“I drove everywhere over the summer, and then August hit, and I was like, might as well take the test,” sophomore Donovan Falder, who scored 87, said.

And even with preparation, mess-ups are bound to be made.

“The only mistake I made was parallel parking. I cannot parallel park,” senior Sammy Abu Namous, score of 97, said.

Giving your best is all you can do, after all.

“On the test I pulled out of the parking spot incorrectly and I didn’t know where my headlights were and me being me, I failed parallel parking,” sophomore Kylie McLane, scored an 89, said.

Of course, there are instances that seem like it was the consequence of a bad driver but could merely have been an accident.

“I’ve only scraped a dude’s car pulling into a parking lot. It was only paint. I traded paint with someone,” Abu Namous said.

Or, intentional, either way – most people try not to make the same mistake twice.

“I ran a four-way stop sign once,” Robbins said. “I didn’t even like roll through it, I just ran it. It was $90.”

Perhaps an opinion from a passenger would be a good indication of one’s own driving abilities.

“I’m pretty sure my friends think I’m a good driver,” Falder said. “They better, for as much that I drive them around.”

Sometimes, a brutally honest opinion can be just what you need to improve.

“My friends and family say it’s bad,” Robbins said. “They say that it’s getting worse and that I need more practice.”

But, no opinion matters as much as one’s own.

“Yeah, I think I am a good driver,” McLane said. “I ran a red light one time, it made me feel bad. I feel like that’s a sign of being a good driver.”

Whether the score on the driving test really determines if a person is a good or bad driver, is debatable. Depending on the person and multiple other factors involving the test, each answer to this question could change.

“I don’t think the test accurately tells how good a driver is because they give you situations that don’t always happen,” Robbins said. “Plus, the driving test is just in a neighborhood, so how can it test you on all driving elements.”

Take it from a man of the law – the score has no indication of proving just how good or bad a person’s driving is.

“Someone can be a fantastic driver, but they’re not good at parallel parking. So, the score comes down, and maybe they mess up another small thing and fail the test. But they’re actually a great driver, with road visualization and staying in their own lane,” Linard said. “So maybe they’re perfectly flawless at the other stuff but they fail by a few minor details, where somebody else squeaks by and passes. But that person breaks too hard, and they don’t use their turn signal.”