Drivers React to English-Only License Exam Proposal

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COLUMBIA - Missouri drivers waiting to take the license exam Monday had mixed feelings about the state proposal to give the test only in English. Missouri House Bill 1186 eliminates 11 other languages the state uses for the exam now, including Spanish, Chinese, and Bosnian.The bill's sponsors said they want to be sure the license applicant can sufficiently understand all highway traffic signs and safety warnings. 

Visiting MU scholar Sunok Chung arrived from his native South Korea on the day the bill was passed. After less than a week in Missouri, Chung completed and passed his driver's license exam in Korean.  "I think they should offer the testing in other languages also as well as in English because in Missouri, in Columbia many people from different country come and want to stay. But driving is very important in American living so without driver's license you cannot do anything," Chung said.

Farid El-Sayed is an MU biochemistry student from Egypt who holds a Missouri driver's license. He took the exam in English, even though his first language is Arabic. "I think that the exam should be just in English since the manual is in English. If they want to make the exam in twelve different languages then they should provide manuals in exactly the same languages," El-Sayed said.

Missouri House Bill 1186 is awaiting Senate debate.

(Maoling Xiong/KOMU)