JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House of Representatives will hold a hearing Wednesday to discuss a proposed bill for an English-only driver's license test.
House Bill 1186 would eliminate 11 foreign language tests offered by the Missouri Highway Patrol. All driver's license applicants would have to take the test in English only. Applicants would not be able to use translators during the test.
Bill sponsor Rep. Mark Parkinson, R-St. Charles, said all drivers in Missouri should be able to communicate effectively with law enforcement officers and read road signs without difficulty. He said the purpose of the bill is to ensure the road safety of all drivers and it is not meant to put immigrants at a disadvantage.
Lt. John Hotz from the Missouri Highway Patrol said there are no supporting statistics that immigrants are causing road accidents.
Currently, driver's license applicants can take the test in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese and Bosnian. In 2011, more than 18,000 applicants took Missouri driver's tests in a foreign language. The majority of the them were Spanish and Chinese speakers.