New 50 Question FL DMV Test Yields 80% Failure Rate

by Lisa on August 20, 2015

As of January, Floridians taking the Florida DMV written test receive a 50 question test, compared to the traditional 20 question test license seekers used to face. Overall failure rates have reached as high as 80% in some counties with this new test. The state-wide failure rate was 41% for the first six months with the new test.

As dismal as these failure rates may appear to be, the overall failure rate on DMV written tests nationally is around 60%. published a January article on DMV failure rates and reported “Despite the relatively simple tests, U.S. failure rates are eye-opening. (Only 13 states were able to provide actual numbers to the NHTSA while the rest were estimated by DMV officials.) Missouri recorded a whopping 61.4 percent failure rate on the written portion of its test. Mississippi was a close second at an even 60 percent, and Florida rounded out the top three with a failure rate of 58.1 percent. Most states allow a driver who fails the written test to retake it after a one-day wait; the wait to retake a failed road test could be anywhere from one day to 30 days.”

Nevada and California have reported high failure rates as high as 70-80% for new immigrants taking the test, leading some test takers to leave the DMV making comments such as “Nobody is passing the test”. Yes, this is one test where test takers learn if they pass before they exit the DMV.

So what is to be done?

Terry Rhodes, Executive Director for the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles told Commissioners quizzing her recently on the high failure rates that her agency is reviewing all questions to ensure they are asking the right questions in the right way. Also, Florida will be printing a new driver’s license handbook, developing a teen study guide, and increasing education efforts with schools and tax collection agencies where many tests are taken.

Other states have not disclosed any plans to improve failure rates. Many states believe tests should not be “dumbed down” but rather applicants must study harder to ensure roads are safe.

What Should Test Takers Do?

First, test takers should drop any assumptions that they don’t need to study. A recent study by of 500 licensed drivers showed that almost 50% failed an online road rules test. You can take the Online Drivers Test here to see how you compare.

Second, when moving to another state, test takers should pay close attention to areas of traffic law which vary from state to state. While many road rules are standard across all 50 states, such as who has the right of way at a 4-way crossing, many rules vary by state. Examples of rules that vary widely by state and are updated regularly include seat belt laws, distracted driving or cell phone laws, child car safety seat guidelines and rules, and basic policies such as how long one has to inform the DMV after a move. Topics such as these that vary by state are not intuitive and must be learned.

All test takers should read the DMV manual. Education experts believe studying important topics on a review sheet or taking online practice tests do help to test knowledge and show which topics need to be studied further. Sites such as and offer a variety of online practice tests and Cheat Sheets to help test takers prepare for the written test.


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Lisa Lippiner covers driving news for, making the roads safer one test taker at a time.

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