Nearly 35% of U.S. Drivers Failed License Tests Between 2020-2023

Indiana, Missouri and Wyoming reported the highest failure rates, with more than half of test-takers in these states not passing.

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A recent analysis of driver’s license test results from 36 states revealed a concerning trend: nearly 35% of people in the U.S. failed their driver’s license written or skills test between 2020 and 2023. Indiana, Missouri and Wyoming reported the highest failure rates, with more than half of test-takers in these states not passing.

Data gathered by USA Today from state organizations showed that, of the 34 states providing comprehensive results, 65.2% of people passed their knowledge or skills tests, while 34.7% failed. Notably, the data indicated individuals perform better on the practical skills test than on the written knowledge test. Specifically, 78.8% of test-takers passed the skills test, whereas only 61.7% succeeded in the knowledge test.

Indiana topped the list with a 51.9% failure rate, followed closely by Missouri at 51.3% and Wyoming at 51.0%. In contrast, Vermont and Louisiana exhibited the highest success rates, with more than 80% of test-takers passing their driver’s license knowledge or skills tests during the same period.

The analysis also highlighted discrepancies in performance on different test components. For instance, 94.9% of test-takers in Idaho and Georgia passed the skills test, the highest success rate in the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, only 41% of Delaware residents passed the skills portion. Vermont led in the knowledge test performance with an 87.5% pass rate, whereas only 39% of Missourians passed this part of the test.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration reported that in 2022, there were 235 million licensed drivers in the U.S. California, the most populous state, unsurprisingly had the highest number of licensed drivers, with 27.6 million, while Wyoming, with the smallest population, had the fewest, with 432,000. When adjusted for population, Texas had the lowest number of licensed drivers per capita, while New Hampshire had the highest.

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