Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why bad drivers happen in good states

I've been reading the latest tome put out by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. I need to read it in order to pass my written driving test on Monday. I am dismayed to report that there is no reason to wonder why Massholes exist in every city and town in the Commonwealth. It is because that book was written by a bunch of morons. It is almost unreadable, has very little information about actually driving, and requires you to read through pages and pages of material that is not of interest to anyone wanting to get a license. The book is fairly worthless.

Some of the rules it states are just bizarre. You know how everyone tailgates in MA? You want to know why? Because the state recommends only a two second pause between cars. In other words, you count one-onethousand, two-onethousand and that's as far back as you need to be. Yeah, in order to DIE in a crash. In California the law is six seconds.

Much of the book is about the amount of money you will pay if you break the rules of the Commonwealth. They have table after table showing if you're under 18, over 18 but under 25, and 25 and older what the penalties will be for things like driving without a license, driving under the influence, etc. They tell you what the legal limit is for under 18 (0.2) and for over 18 (0.8) but they never tell you how to calculate your body weight, the time you drank, and when it's safe to drive. That's kind of important information they're leaving out, doncha think?

The book contains 41 long, dense pages on how to apply for, replace, renew, convert, replace, and change the address on your drivers license. Forty one pages. A bit excessive, since most of the information is not relevant to most drivers. That's just chapter one of this tome.

Then we have another two chapters on how to keep your license with the tables of all the violations and penalties, and safety. They actually have 18 pages on seatbelts, airbags, car seats, etc. We're now up to 77 pages with no information on the actual rules of the road.

Finally, on page 77, we get to the meat of the matter. The rules of the road, including speed limits, traffic signals, pavement markings, road 'respect' (who are they kidding, this is MA), parking, and rules for pedestrians and bicycles. This chapter is 28 pages long.

The rest of the book, worthless. A chapter on "special driving situations", another on owning a vehicle that has all the do's and don'ts of vehicle registration, and then a bunch of appendices.

In other words, 28 valuable pages contained with 150 pages of mostly dreck.

Now, maybe because I've been a licensed driver in other states: California, Colorado, and North Carolina, all of which required me to read their manuals and take a written test, I've come to expect that the Commonwealth's Driver's Manual might be chock full of good and important information. You know, there's an ASS in assume for a reason. This book sucks. Plain and simple. It's a piece of trash. It's terrible.

My favorite part was the Sample Permit Knowledge Test. It was 5 questions long. FIVE. And best of all, it had no answer key. Now isn't that a useful test? Not. One of the questions, I kid you not, is "What color are stop signs?" And it's multiple choice. What the hell use is this? Any child over the age of 3 can tell you stop signs are red.

This book really angered me. All those nice healthy trees destroyed for this crap. And the poor kids who are reading it for the first time and trying to determine what might be on the test. They need to determine what is crap (80% of the book) and what is useful. That's not fair. This book needs to be rewritten. By a writer. Who knows what not to include in it.

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Blogger Daisy said...

There you go. You need to re-write this! Of course, you'd probably have to know someone who knows someone and then you'd have to take a Civil Service Exam which would require studying another worthless manual/study guide...never mind. Forget I suggested anything.

30/3/08 6:53 PM  

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