Got High Failure Rates? Just Make the Test Easier!

Parallel Parking Gone Very Wrong
Parallel Parking Gone Very Wrong

First, a big shout-out to all this month’s graduates. Congratulations! You and your families should be very proud. As your commencement speakers will likely tell you, this isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. The road will be bumpy but great things lie ahead. You will learn from your failures.

Unless you’re taking the Maryland’s drivers test. Apparently too many people were failing the parallel parking requirement. Solution? The state eliminated that requirement.

Wow, what if we could get rid of everything that’s hard? So awesome! The only problem: eliminating a requirement doesn’t mean the challenge goes away. We can eliminate math in grade school; it doesn’t mean the kids don’t need to know it. Same with parallel parking. Because there’s a lot of it in Maryland and D.C. I share more of my thoughts in The Washington Post. Please read my take here (bonus: managed to include a reference to recent Williamsburg field trip and the craft of wig-making). And if you have oodles of free time, please comment on the Post site.

For those still working on that driver’s license, take your time. Learning it right makes good sense. And to their parents, please remind me of all this when my kids start the process. Try not to laugh too much (I’ve had flashbacks to my early driving. It was… something).

Have a great weekend, drive safely and park well!

Author: Kristin O'Keefe

Kristin O’Keefe has bartended in Scotland, written speeches for college presidents, and led communications & marketing for an economic development organization. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney's, Barrelhouse, Your Teen, Grown and Flown, and Scary Mommy. Find her on Twitter @_KristinOKeefe and Facebook at Kristin O'Keefe, writer.

2 thoughts on “Got High Failure Rates? Just Make the Test Easier!

  1. mom says:


    When I joined the Peace Corps, I was told I had to have a driver’s license. From a family that did not own a car, I had not learned anything about driving one. I took lessons and failed the test. Peace Corps took me anyway, gave me lessons when I was being trained at UCLA , and I passed the test because the person who tested me understood I would be driving in West Africa not Los Angeles. Driving in rural Nigeria as the local Doctor insisted was a contact sport, mostly with snakes, but I hit a cow and the Peace Corps decided to hire drivers for all their vehicles. But I did not ever get to parallel park. And I still can’t.

    1. Kristin O'Keefe says:

      First, I can’t believe you hit a cow! No wonder they took away your car. Probably best to leave the parking to dad. Or go for the garage!


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