Friday, May 28, 2010

Lawmakers propose English-only drivers' tests

Critics say the bill unfairly targets immigrants and refugees.

The new bill introduced Wednesday would require those taking a drivers test to speak or read and write English.

Republican State Representative Harold Brubaker of Randolph, who introduced the bill with Rep. Julia Howard of Iredell, says the bill will make the roads safer and save taxpayers’ money.

"If you speak Chinese or Russian and can't read our signs and can't speak English, it's an absolute safety issue, and I think that needs to be addressed," Brubaker told WRAL-TV. "People getting driver's licenses in North Carolina should be able to speak English."

The Division of Motor Vehicles currently offers the written driver's tests in 10 languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Opponents say the legislation would hurt legal residents, political refugees, foreign exchange students, and even U.S. citizens who have limited English skills.

In 2006, the N.C. legislature voted to make it impossible for illegal immigrants to renew their driver's licenses.

The bill is similar to ones being considered in states such as Georgia and Tennessee. In Alabama, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James said if he is elected he will order state driver license exams be given in English only.

One of James’ campaign ads states: "This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it."

STATES OFFERING TEST ONLY IN ENGLISH:
* Arizona
* Hawaii
* Kansas
* Maine
* New Hampshire
* Oklahoma
* South Dakota
* Utah
* Wyoming

Source: ProEnglish.org

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dang Franco, you'd better renew your license today!

barkomomma said...

[b]Tennessee[/b] Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James said if he is elected he will order state driver license exams be given in English only.

One of James’ campaign ads states: "This is [b]Alabama[/b]....

Mr. James [b]IS[/b] a gubernatorial candidate for Alabama; not Tennessee.

Time for some remedial proof-reading...in ENGLISH?

Anonymous said...

Until the time when all our our street signs and emergency signs are written in several different languages, and all our policemen and emergency personnel speak several languages, a person should have fluency in English, including reading, in order to be licensed to drive on our highways. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that.

Entree said...

good.

good.

good.

"This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it." Yes indeed.

People who want to own firearms should also be required to pass a fire arm safety and competency exam too.

darkferi said...

It's about dang time!!!

North Carolina is looking better by the day! Woot!

Anonymous said...

Irony:

Massachusetts State Representative Mike Moran (Dummycrat) of Brighton was rear-ended by a "suspected" illegal alien, Isaias Naranjo, this week. Naranjo is reported to have had a blood alcohol level of .25 at the time of the accident and was traveling 60 MPH.

The reason they aren't sure whether Naranjo was an illegal alien is because Governor Deval patrick rescinded a law signed by former governor Mitt Romney that would have allowed local law enforcement to check Naranjo's immigration status.

Anonymous said...

20 STATES ARE NOW CONDISERING ADOPTING THE SAME FEDERAL
IMMIGRATION LAWS AS ARIZONA, AND ITS ABOUT TIME! WE DON'T MIND THE BOYCOTT,ANYTHING TO GET RID OF ALL ILLEGAL TRASH! THER'E LOTS OF SANCTUARY CITIES, THEY CAN HAVE THE ILLEGALS,AND ALL THE CRAP THAT COMES WITH THEM! ADIOS AND VAMOOSE!

Anonymous said...

Good for our lawmakers! When I shop I hear mothers speaking their native language to their kids and I want to scream. How can the kids learn English if the parents won't? And did you ever notice that the non-English speaking have NO problem reading our money?

Anonymous said...

WHAT THE HELL GOOD DOES IT DO TO HAVE THE EXAM IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES
WHEN THE STREET SIGNS ARE IN ENGLISH? IF I WERE IN AN ACCIDENT THAT WAS CAUSED BY SOMEONE THAT TOOK THE EXAM AND COULDN'T READ THE STRET SIGNS, OF COURSE THE STATE WOULD BE
LIABLE. THEY ENABLED THE PERSON WHEN THEY GAVE THEM THE LICENSE.

David I said...

It's about time lawmakers did something that actually makes sense. For all the PC people out there, if drivers can't read English, how do you expect them to read the road signs. Not only are they driving a moving vehicle at X MPH, but they seriously endanger the rest of us if they can't read warning signs.

Hopefully NC will also pass a similar law as AZ's. If anyone has actually read their newly passed law, it simply makes logical sense. It states in two separate places that race can NOT be used as a determining factor.

Anonymous said...

If you learn something in your own language you will be able to understand everything and do it right and even more apply it to your life. Right!!! If you want your streets safe let people to take the driving test in their own language. I am a citizen and I experienced being in a situation where someone hit my car and run and that person didn’t have a driver license. I believe that everybody not matter what is their legal status should be able to get a driver licenses. I had to pay all my car damage and I dont thing that someone would like to be in that situation.

Anonymous said...

NC is getting better by the day

Anonymous said...

Looks like anonymous 4:09 could use some help with English, and that may explain their negative sentiment to the bill.

We need to make English the official language of the US so we could require proficiency as a requirement to enter our country!

Anonymous said...

How many deaths on the highway are caused by illegal immigrants who can't read "WRONG WAY" or "DO NOT ENTER" on the highway offramp they're driving down the wrong way? I remember several of this type of incidents occurring in Charlotte in just the past few years.

If you can't read enough English to pass a written test in English, then you have no business being issued a driver's license for roads that are signed in English. We give foreign tourists a pass, but people who LIVE here (and would therefore be required to get a NC driver's license) should have to obey the damn rules and learn the language of the road.

We're not discriminating against immigrants, be they legal or not -- we're discriminating against people who can't read. There's a difference.

Gilberto at South Park Library said...

As illegal living in charlotte for 15 years I don't mind if law enacted because I won't stop driving if I have a license or do not.

Gilberto

Anonymous said...

This is reasonable. Why is the government having to fit the bill to pay for only 10 languages for these tests? Who chooses those? English is the legit language of the United States, however you may loathe the idea. What's next? Reprinting the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and every other bit of legislation into other languages?

It also is reasonable that someone granted driving priveleges in the US, including rental car agencies, that the driver have some working knowledge of English. It is for their and other drivers' safety as well as for assisting enforcement and EMT personnel in dire situations.

Driving is not a human right, it's merely a sanctioned privelege.

David I said...

Anon 4:09pm - If, as your story goes, you were hit by a driver who then fled the scene how do you know if they had a driver's license or not? How do you know if the reason this happened to you was because they couldn't read English if they fled the scene? Did this person who hit you stop and explain that they didn't have a license because they can't read English? I highly doubt that since today anyone can get a license in this State as long as they can pass the test in one of 10 languages.

This is real simple. If a driver is traveling at 65mph down the interstate and comes to a sign that reads, "Men Working. Reduce speed to 35mph" and this driver can't read English, how in the world are they going to know what is coming up? Is it really more important to cater to people who decide to move here but can't read the language we use? Or is the safety of everyone else on the roads more important? What about those workers who are working on the road who are getting ready to experience a driver barreling through at 65mph? Is their safety not important to you?

Anonymous said...

Sweet Home Alabama...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing this to the American citizens attention. Your papers please!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

This is absurd. You don't need to speak English (or even be literate) to recognize and understand signs -- that's the point behind coloring them and including pictures. Just like we shouldn't be able to discriminate against the uneducated/illiterate by depriving them their driver license (which is oftentimes essential for their livelihood), we should not discriminate against people who do not speak English.

Also, news to the folks who gripe about speaking English in America: America has no official national language.

Anonymous said...

So what makes anyone think an ILLEGAL who was going to RUN
still wouldn't RUN if they had a drivers license?

Anyone?

They'd still need insurance and enough sense to not drive drunk
or like a Mexican farmer...

Anonymous said...

I assume when the poster below says NC is looking better by the day, they mean "whiter." Sigh.

When the minorities are the majority, and we finally don't have the legislative power to do these sorts of ignorant things, I wouldn't be surprised if things get a little uncomfortable. Why create animosity that will come back around later? We need to start seeing ourselves as A PEOPLE now, and not "us against them."

Anonymous said...

"We need to start seeing ourselves as a PEOPLE now".

Learning English is a good start...

Don said...

As long as the street signs on the exams are in English (as they would be on the streets), I don't see a problem with the exam questions being in whatever language - including Klingon.

We got plenty of people who don't know anything but English, have passed the exams and still shouldn't be driving.

Besides, street signs should be designed so that language - or ability to read - is not a barrier to begin with.

Larry said...

When we go overseas it is always frustrating how some drive on the right and some on the left.

They should make these other countries change to make it easier for us when we visit them.

Oh and funny how you get out of the tourist areas you can not find signs in English. They should make it mandatory that they have every language in the world covered on these signs.

All they would need is about 7000 different signs for everything.

In fact the Observer needs to hire about 6999 more writers to take the mantle up for those who speak all these other languages.

Anonymous said...

Here is a profoundly good idea. Why don't we send these two ignorant politicians and the hordes of people that agree with it to Alabama.
Ranked last in education, poverty and medical care.

I guess these politicians and racist supporters where much happier when we were in economic freefall in 2008.

Misery and intolerance love company. Here are some directions. Get in your beat up pickup with gun rack and head south on I-85. When you hit Atlanta look for signs for Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Guess what? We speak English here. Learn it or leave. My grandparents came here LEGALLY as children and learned the language. They didn't have signs or pamphlets or anything in their native language and they survived. If I moved to France, for example, I wouldn't expect a driver's test to be in English.

Bill said...

If only North Carolina could aspire to be more like Alabama. They're the epitome of a well-run state with focus on the right priorities. They're all so fit, healthy and well-educated. What other ideas can we glean from them?

heavymetal said...

Can someone tell me why it's such a bad thing to know how to communicate properly with citizens in the principal language of the country in which you live?

This bill says you need be able to EITHER speak English OR know how to read & write it to get a driver's license.

Is it really that difficult to learn conversational English?

misswhit said...

My son is working in Toronto. Before he could get the Canadian equivalent of our "green card" he was required to take a test to show that he could read English. This is in wonderfully diverse Canada and he is obviously an English speaking American citizen, but everyone immigrating there has to take the English test before they can get a job, no matter where they are from. Can you imagine the outrage such a law would produce in some quarters here in the states!

Cast Iron said...

Misswhit - are you aware that Canada officially recognizes two languages...English and French.

Anonymous said...

DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH?
DON'T SPEND HERE!

That would be the tagline for my new campaign to encourage business owners to refuse to sell to those who don't speak english. If we are serious about this problem then we will say no to their patronage. Go spend your money at someone else's business. I CARE about this issue.

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. The media, led by the CO, want America and its values to disappear. We only need English.

Now thens of thousands of illegals drive. Many illegally. Almost all without insurance. When they are stopped all we can do is issue a ticket. But they never show up in court. They just use one of their IDs to get another drivers license. They know who to go to at DMV. I firmly believe that they bribe someone to get their license.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people who have left comments here are concerned about the safety of our roads, which is certainly an important issue. Many are making the argument that those who cannot comprehend English well enough to take the test in English will not be able to understand the signs and therefore be a hazard to us all. I would like to point out that no matter what language the test is taken in, the visual portion is the same. That is the part where you look through the machine and see images of road signs and must correctly identify them. There are no translations of the signs, they are the same as the ones on the English version and the same as the ones that you see on the road, i.e. the Stop sign reads "STOP" not "ALTO". Therefore anyone who passes the test an any language will be able to understand the signs.

What we should question is the motivation of these politicians. Illegal aliens are already not allowed to obtain drivers licenses in North Carolina. I believe that they are trying to gain some votes and notoriety at the expense of a certain segment of our population.

Anonymous said...

I'm a liberal and I do not understand how anyone could argue with this logic...
European countries require that immigrants learn and pass exams proving they can speak the language.
I support this legislation...

misswhit said...

Cast Iron,
Yes, I am aware that Canada recognizes two languages; however, you are required to know French only in Quebec. My son works in Ontario--for the Provincial government in fact. And he was required to know English.

Anonymous said...

I don't shop at Lowes because of their mexican signs.

moose with a j said...

Why start at the NC drivers liscense biz. Lets just say screw it and make it where any illegal CAN NOT get any help. they get hurt tough! hope you were a medic. You get in trouble with the law, no prison sunny pablo your off to gitmo or an unknown isle for being a domestic terrorist (I really like that title lol). As for us, Arizona is still number one for me. But we Caralackies are starting in the right direction.

Carl Bitthofer said...

I at least give Franco credit for keeping his blogs open to comments from anyone. Most other blogs here now limit comments to folks who have a Google account or OpenID.

Juan Nava said...

"I don't shop at Lowes because of their mexican signs."

Ha-ha! Then the joke's on you. If you ask to speak to the manager, in Spanish, you get a 5% discount...amigo.

Anonymous said...

PANDERING POLITICIANS THAT GOVERN
AGAINST THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE,WILL
ALWAYS "SELL THE COUNTRY" OUT! WE
HAVE A CHANCE IN NOVEMBER TO THROW
THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER!
VOTE ALL INCUMBENTS OUT!!!!


WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY TRULY DESCRIBES THE WORD "POLITICIAN"!

Anonymous said...

Term limits aren't needed if we vote out incumbents. If your not a legal citizen of this country or don not have a valid license from your home country, not driving and no rental car. We should have the same immigration rules as Mexico.

Anonymous said...

ONLY A SELF-SERVIMG, POWER HUNGRY
POLITICIANS WOULD BE ARROGANT ENOUGH TO ALLOW PEOPLE THAT CAN'T READ ENGLISH TO OBTAIN DRIVERS A LICENSE. "REMEBER IN NOVEMBER"!!!

Anonymous said...

Why is it such an issue that in order to drive in a country where the street signs are written in English you should be able to read them?

Anonymous said...

People refuse to understand America was discovered by white Latino Hispanic Europeans who are the original speakers of the ancient Spanish tongue derived from Latino the language the original combined divine Book was written in 1700 yrs ago at the Nicean Conferences directed by Roman emperor Constantine who had converted the entire Roman world empire to Xianity.

It was these white Latino European nations and their explorers who conquered the pagan uncivilized savage reds of the western hemisphere with divine intervention and forced the survivors to speak Spanish and learn white man culture discarding their paganism and Asian dialetcs they had brought over from the east thousands of yrs earlier after crossing the Bering Strait.

The ancient European orignal tongues of English and Spanish along with French and even German should be mandatory in school by American citizens anyway not for the sake of illegal imposters but for the heritage of the legals .

Anonymous said...

The intelligent logistical approach to this would be to allow only legal citizens to obtain drivers license of whatever language they speak and that is currently offered in.

We know all this bi-lingual controversy started with 1.5 million Cubans escaping Castro and being allowed to enter south Florida and obtain immediate citizenship due to political amnesty since they would have been killed had they stayed being capitalists for Batista.

When we compare the 1.5 million legal Cuban-Americans citizens who are all of quality bourgoiese Spanish European origin and good capitalists there is really no comparison to the 50 million illegal Mexicans peasants.

Therefore the author fails to take into account the original logic for bi-lingual that even for legal citizens was still controversial in south Florida that only numbers 1.5 million.

When comparable analyis is utilized clearly the twisited pc liberal logic should not even apply to thirty million illegals from Mexico among who many are criminals, drug dealers, murderers, drunken drivers, etc. Typical illiterate uneducated Asian peasantry.

Anonymous said...

May 28, 2010 5:46 PM
Anonymous said...
I assume when the poster below says NC is looking better by the day, they mean "whiter." Sigh."

Since when is non-English speaker a race? Do you think we need special rules for people because they can't function with the current ones. How is that not racist?

Lisa Damien said...

Wow Anonymous. You have really shown yourself to be a Class-A racist.

Anonymous said...

Yet another example where illegals refuse to assimilate into our country and selectively abide by what laws they think are 'right'.

As much as everyone likes to remind one another about how our nation was created with a melting-pot approach, can you simply stop and think what our nation would be like if those same immigrants back then took a similar approach to what illegal aliens take today? It's only because of assimilation that we as a country are better because of it. It doesn't mean forgetting your roots but does require adopting some basic social premises (like language and abidance of our nation's laws). If the same attitude occurred back in the 1800's, we'd be a nation of anarchy and separatism.

tarhoosier said...

New Brunswick is the ONLY bilingual (French/English) province in Canada.

Anonymous said...

This is America!!!...learn english or go back from where you came.

Anonymous said...

I think NC should follow Arizona's lead....100%. The legal Mexican's can help enforce the law. There is ONE language in the US...ENGLISH.