As of this week, Maryland has dropped the parallel parking portion of their driver’s test. The reasoning?
A Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration spokesperson says that the requirement is “redundant”; the “reverse two-point turnabout” (essentially, backing your car into a space) involves the same skills. The Washington Post quotes one driving instructor as speculating that the real reason behind the change is efficiency. Many people fail the test because of the parallel parking requirement, and “they want to be able to push people through.”
As a teenager in the late 90’s, I waited an extra 9 months to be able to take my driver’s test with my high school driver’s ed teacher during class. Their version omitted the parallel parking, opting instead to test on the more deadly skill of merging onto the highway. Looking back, it seems silly that the parking was what actually made me nervous.
Now a thirty-something licensed driver (who can parallel park just fine, thankyouverymuch), cutting corners to churn licenses out faster makes me a little nervous. But perched in our second floor office, overlooking a street lined with parking spots, I can say for certain, not everyone who passed the test retains the skill anyway.
What do you think? Is Maryland making a mistake?
Read the article on the Motherlode: Maryland Drops Parallel Parking From Driver’s Test – NYTimes.com