The California DMV

While researching information for a DMV project I was working on, I came an interesting fact about the California DMV.

If you don’t speak English and live in California (Austrian former governors are exempt), you can still take the written driver license exam. It’s available in other languages: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Wow. 30 plus languages. And people wonder why the DMV is ineffective.

Look, I grew up in Los Angeles and I’m pretty damn liberal about everything. I figure you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt or bother other people. If you like to dress up as a cucumber and drive your Bentley down Wilshire Boulevard, no problem. If you want to film a porn movie in the McDonald’s drive-thru, all the power to you. If your significant other is a blow-up doll made to resemble Mary Todd Lincoln, fine.

But when it comes to driving, especially in California where there are 1000 million cars, I have never agreed with just handing out licenses willy nilly.

Driving should not be a right, it should be a privilege.

In California, the DMV will basically give a license to anyone. Anyone!

Let’s say you fail the written test three times. THREE TIMES! You should be disqualified forever, but noooo. After you fail it three times, you just pay the fee again and start over.

So basically, if you take the test enough times, eventually, you’ll pass. Oh goody. Then you can share the road with me. What a fantastic idea.

I shouldn’t be so snide and condescending though. The California written driver test IS difficult.

Here are a few sample questions from the Los Angeles offices:


1     When you drive through a construction zone, you should:
a.    Slow down to watch all the sweaty mens.
b.    Decrease your following distance so you don’t get rear ended (West Hollywood only).
c.    Pass the construction zone carefully and wave to Lindsay Lohan as she performs community service.

2  If a traffic signal light is not working, you must:
a.    Stop, then immediately call your lawyer to file a lawsuit against the city.
b.    Stop before entering the intersection and let any celebrities proceed first.
c.    Grip the steering wheel and floor it, screaming “Death to America!”

3  A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no marked crosswalk. You should:
a.    Make sure the pedestrian sees you before mowing him down.
b.    Carefully drive around the pedestrian and flip him off for not owning a car.
c.    Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street (New Yorkers visiting California are exempt).

4  Always use your seat belt:
a.    Unless you have a body in the trunk.
b.    Unless you are transporting illegal immigrants.
c.    Unless you are on a hit TV show.

5  Roads are slippery after it first starts to rain. When the road is slippery you should:
a.    What is rain?
b.    Cancel all meetings for the day.
c.    Give water fowl the right of way.

6  Collisions can happen more often when:
a.    Rappers are involved.
b.    Someone shoots you.
c.    Old people are driving 30 MPH in the fast lane.

7  You are about to make a left turn. If you are a senior citizen, you must signal continuously during the last ____ before the turn.
a.  1/2 mile.
b.  4 miles.
c.  I’m exempt. I leave my blinker on all the time.

8  You have been involved in a minor traffic collision with a parked vehicle and you can’t find the owner. You must:
a.  Leave a phony note on the vehicle.
b.  Report the accident without delay to your local Starbuck’s barista.
c.  Notify TMZ.

9  Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in a residential area is ____.
a.  2 mph.
b.  90 mph.
c.  Nonexistent.

10 You may legally block an intersection:
a. If you are rich.
b. If you are a celebrity.
c. If you are Kim Kardashian.

11 When parking uphill on a two-way street with no curb, your front wheels should be:
a. Touching the ground.
b. Turned away from your chauffeur.
c. On someone’s front lawn.

12 Roadways are the most slippery:
a. After they get wet.
b. After a visit from Paris Hilton.
c. After a Whole Foods  soy milk spill.



  1. Frootloops says:

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a 10. Hysterical. And so true!

  2. Number 2 had me cracking up. Funny list!

  3. Too funny Steve. Number 4 was the best. That is sooooooooooooo L.A.

  4. Blue Bear says:

    One of your best posts, Steve! How well you know Angelenos. Perhaps your next book should be “Driving for Dummies – LA Edition”. It would fly off the shelves at the DMV!

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