- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2011

When that guy in the red sports car cuts you off while making an illegal U-turn or infuriatingly blocks the box, it might not be his fault. According to a new study, he may not know any better.

The District has the highest percentage of “unfit” drivers who do not have the basic knowledge to pass a written driver’s test, according to a national study by GMAC Insurance. Drivers in all 50 states and the District were given a 20-question multiple-choice test made up of basic information from state Department of Motor Vehicles exams.

Sample questions asked such things as the meaning of a diamond-shaped road sign and when it is acceptable to pass on the right of another vehicle.

On average, licensed drivers in the District scored 71.8 percent on the 20-question test and one in three drivers failed the test entirely.

Maryland drivers also fared poorly. The state ranked 49 out of 51 (including the District), with an average test score of 73.3 percent. The state’s ranking dropped sharply from 2010, when an average test score of 78.2 percent earned it a No. 20 ranking.

Virginia drivers were nearly even with the national test score averages of 77.9 percent and ranked 25th.

Kansas drivers were the most knowledgeable and ranked first with an average 82.9 percent score on the test.

The average score of drivers nationwide increased from 76.2 percent last year to 77.9 percent this year, but the GMAC Insurance study concluded nearly one in five drivers did not have the knowledge to pass a written driver’s test.