From: gpsman on
January 29, 2010

Sharonville exam site is toughest for Ohio driver's test

Review of data reveals easiest, toughest places

By Jessica Alaimo and Jessica Brown |

Students wanting to pass their driving test might want to steer clear
of Sharonville.

The Sharonville exam site on Reading Road failed 28.3 percent of the
drivers who took the test there last year - the highest failure rate
in the state, according to an analysis of BMV data.

Meanwhile, Hamilton County's only other test site, which is called
"Seven Hills," and located on Hamilton Avenue in Springfield Township,
failed 8.9 percent of its students. That ranked it 39th out of the 88
exam stations included in the analysis.

Compare failure rates at test sites

Elsewhere in Southwest Ohio:

Butler County's Hamilton test site failed 12.3 percent of its drivers;
Warren County's Lebanon site failed 8.8 percent of its drivers;
Clermont County's Batavia site failed 7.6 percent of its test-takers.

If you're looking for the site where you're most likely to pass,
you'll have to drive a ways: the lowest failure rate in the state was
in Napoleon, a city of about 9,000 people 45 miles southwest of Toledo
in Henry County. Only one student failed there last year.

A spokeswoman from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which
oversees the BMV could not explain the disparities, saying any guesses
would be purely speculative. But students and driving schools say that
the Sharonville area is congested and complicated. Students must pass
two driving tests to get their licenses.

In the maneuverability test, students must go forward and backward
through a series of cones. Sharonville had a 26.9 percent failure rate
on the maneuverability test, the third highest.

During the road test, students drive a pre-approved course on streets
with an examiner, who assesses their driving abilities.

"Sharonville's a lot harder," said Kate Apfelbeck, 16, of Wyoming who
is currently taking driver's education classes from Jeff's Driving
School in Blue Ash. She said her friends and her driving instructors
told her the Sharonville course is challenging because it includes one-
way streets.

Because of that, Apfelbeck plans to go to the Seven Hills location
when she takes her test in March even though it's a bit farther away.
"All my friends are going to Seven Hills," she said. "A lot of
Cincinnati kids go to Seven Hills because it's easier."

Drivers taking Sharonville's test often encounter significant traffic,
must cross several lanes of traffic and must react to school zones and
one-way streets.

Seven Hills easier

Tim Adams, an instructor at Bick's Driving School in Cincinnati, said
he tells his students to test at Seven Hills because it's easier to
pass there.

<implying he prefers his students measure his instruction and their
performances by the lowest standard... sigh>

"Seven Hills is a little neighborhood," Adams said. "Twenty-five miles
per hour, no hills, no curves, no lights, only a single lane, nothing
but stop signs."

Last year 1,491 more people took the driving test at the Seven Hills
site than at the Sharonville site.

"Everyone says Sharonville's the hardest because of all the traffic
and the lane changing you have to do," said Jeff Tuffey, owner of
Jeff's Driving School in Blue Ash. He said he tries to get students
familiar with the area before they take the test. In one part of the
Sharonville course, a student has to cross multiple lanes of traffic
on Reading Road while approaching a stop light.

"They get nervous if they can't get over and run right through the
light," said Tuffey. "I just think it's more difficult. There are more
things to make a driver nervous."

While challenging courses might frustrate some test-takers, it also
helps keep unprepared drivers off the road, which is a good thing,
said Marge Schaim, an owner of the AAAA International Driving School
which runs several driving schools in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton.

"There should be a certain level of failure rate at all test sites,"
she said. "People who don't have adequate training shouldn't be on the

State BMV officials would not let county examiners respond to

Location, location, location

Ohio law says applicants must demonstrate "ordinary and reasonable
control" over their vehicle before they get a license.

They must also take a separate written test on their knowledge of
motor vehicle laws and their ability to understand highway traffic
control devices.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc said there is
no definite answer as to why pass/fail rates differ, because of all
the factors that come into play.

Testing stations attract different demographics and age groups with
different skill levels.

"Any reason would truly be speculative as to why one (exam station)
has a higher pass/fail rate," Komlanc said.

Changes in driver's education

Years ago, students could take driver's education for credit in high
school. Not anymore. Schools dropped their programs, and now they are
run privately, according to the Ohio Department of Education. It costs
about $300 for a course that meets state requirements.

Anyone younger than 18 must take 32 hours of driver's education with a
certified instructor - 24 in the classroom and eight behind the wheel.
They must also log 50 hours behind the wheel with a parent or

Schools can still offer driver's education, but none do, according to
Scott Blake, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. Any
classes that take place in a school are run by private companies.

Blake said the state used to provide a $50 subsidy per student taking
driver's education. There was also a $50 cap on what the student had
to pay. Both the subsidy and cap disappeared in 1999.

Schools must also get liability insurance for driver's education
programs, which is costly.

Just get that license by the easiest possible means so you can start
teaching other motorists driving lessons you make up.

- gpsman
From: John Lucas on
On Mon, 01 Feb 2010 20:58:55 -0800, Scott in SoCal
<scottenaztlan(a)> wrote:

>Last time on, Nate Nagel <njnagel(a)>
>>Of all the places I've ever lived, only Ohio required me to retake the
>>driving test (only the written portion, though) when I moved there, so
>>they've got that going for them.
>California made me take the written test when I moved here. For some
>reason, I can't remember if Arizona did or not - I must have repressed
>those memories. :)

When I moved to AZ in 1979 I only turned in my IL driver's license. No
written or road.