Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Irrelevant Questions from the NC Driver's Test

Question 1: How many points do each of the following traffic violations incur: passing a school bus, reckless driving, littering from a motor vehicle?

Answer I Would Have Given If It Were Write-In and Not Multiple Choice:
Who cares? Before doing any of them, am I going to stop and think, "Oh, passing a school bus, that's 5 points, guess I better not," or "Littering, 1 point, no biggie, I'll just toss this soda cup right out my window." Does it matter how many points each incurs? They're all illegal, and if you get caught doing any of them you're going to be in trouble. Period. End of story.

Question 2: For how long is your driver's license suspended if you're caught driving while impaired?

Answer I Would Have Given If It Were Write-In and Not Multiple Choice:
Probably not long enough. And again, does it matter? You shouldn't operate a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, because A) it's just plain stupid, and B) it's also illegal. If you're dumb enough to do it anyway, the length of time your license will be suspended probably doesn't figure into your decision. Can we just make this a true/false question stating that your driver's license will be suspended (Period. End of story.) if you drive while impaired? Thanks.

Question 3: What percentage of traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers?

Answer I Would Have Given If It Were Write-In and Not Multiple Choice:
I have no freaking idea, but I do know that even one death is too many. Beyond that, numbers are irrelevant. Period. End of story.

My main objection to all three of these questions is that they have absolutely no bearing on your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Because someone knows that reckless driving is going to result in four points on their license doesn't mean they're not going to do it. And it's not a fear of raising the percentage of deaths caused by drunk drivers that's going to stop someone from getting behind the wheel after drinking. These trivia facts may win me a round at pub quiz one of these days, but they're not going to make anyone a better driver.

Why not ask questions that matter? Such as when do you not have to stop for a stopped school bus? (A: When on a divided highway or a four-lane or bigger road with a middle lane). Or who has the right of way when two cars approach a four-way stop at the same time? (A: The car to the right). Or when is it okay to run over pedestrians? (A: Never.) From my experience driving around here, those are the questions that people really need to know the answers to.

But, I guess I shouldn't expect better. When has anyone ever known the DMV to make sense?

(For the curious, the correct answers are: 5 points for passing a school bus, 4 points for reckless driving, 1 point for littering; 1 year; and 38%. Of course, except for the drunken driving fatality statistic, those are the answers just for here in North Carolina. You could be wrong if you provided these answers on another state's test, which I'm sure has some equally irrelevant questions.)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Why Moving Sucks

1. Packing. Loading. Unloading. Unpacking.

2. You have to to take all the furniture and decorations that fit so nicely in and went so well with your last residence and try to find a place for them in your new residence, which is a completely different size and style.

3. You have to get a new license, which means going to the DMV. Which means dealing with people who, if not actually stupid, are trying very hard to convince you that they are.

4. You have to activate all of your utilities, which might mean that you have to go to the actual office of the cable/Internet service where you get to stand in line behind a crapload of people who are there to inquire just how much they have to pay to avoid having their service shut off.

5. You have no idea where the grocery store, or anything else, is.

6. You have to spend all kinds of time and all kinds of money fixing and changing things, no matter how "move-in ready" your house is.

7. You have to make new friends.