Road Signs in English


Have you taken your Department of Motor Vehicle written knowledge test? If you have than I am sure you were asked what language you wanted to take it in. I know that the United States does not have an official language and that street signs in some of our cities are in Spanish, but does that mean the licensing test should be given in thirty four different languages? I believe that the United States Department of Motor Vehicle should limit the language in which the drivers test can be taken down to English and Spanish. I do not believe that a person who can not read English, or Spanish in those towns that do offer Spanish road signs, should be allowed to take the drivers test due to it being a safety risk. I also believe that those driver’s in towns whose signs are in Spanish, that they should only be able to drive in those specific areas.

My first argument as to why the United States of America should only offer the Department of Motor Vehicle’s driver’s knowledge test in English is that I believe it presents a clear safety issue if done otherwise. Imagine a person driving down the road when there is an emergency road sign blinking in front of them. For those of us that live in areas where only English road signs are posted and we can read and understand English, this would be no problem. But what if that driver does not understand English? That one driver could cause a terrible accident, and possibly end up injuring themselves and numerous other people on the road. I think that this is a major reason why the driver’s test should only be given in English.

My second argument is that I believe that the United States needs to start taking steps to adopt English as the nation’s official language. Over twenty-nine of the fifty United States have already adopted English as their language. I am in agreement with what ProEnglish Executive Director J.C. McAlpin said when he acknowledged that the group strongly believes that driver's licenses should be offered only in English because it is a key to assimilating Hispanics into the U.S. culture. (Tribune Business News, Mick Hinton, May 6th 2008) I believe that bringing the nation together and almost forcing them to be able to communicate will actually bring people closer together and help end some racism in the United States. Even a small thing like learning to read and speak English would help people from all cultures and backgrounds to be able to communicate and learn more about each other. How many times have arguments occurred because one of the drivers blamed a non English speaking driver for the accident?

My third argument is actually one that I have found after doing more research on the topic. While researching I came across an article from the publication “News for You”:

Federal law requires commercial drivers to speak English well enough to talk to police officers. The changes would affect nationwide licensing rules for commercial drivers. Most states let truckers and bus drivers to take at least part of their license tests in languages other than English. But, the rule changes would require drivers to speak only English during their road tests and vehicle checks. Here, the effects of this federal law to the Spanish-speaking population is presented. (Anonymous,2008,Vol. 56 Iss. 34, pg.4)

The article states that it is important that truck drivers, just like any other drivers, need to be able to communicate with police officers. I believe that this is a wonderful reason why we could be able to make sure this can be accomplished by only issuing the driver’s test in English. Can you think of a better way for our nation’s police officers to be able to thoroughly investigate any type of problem having to due with traffic infractions?

In conclusion, I think that it is simple to see why the United States of America’s Department of Motor Vehicle should put into effect a law stating that the only language the driver’s knowledge test can be given in is English. Not only do you have safety reasons but it will also help to assimilate our foreign visitors into American life. I can understand that some people may feel it is a violation of some sorts, but I think if you truly look at the facts anyone can see how it would be better for our country to only offer the test in English. Maybe one day the federal government and our states governments will come together and make this happen.

References

NEW RULES REQUIRE TRUCKERS TO SPEAK: Better English. (2008, August). News for You, 56(34), 4.  Retrieved December 8, 2008, from Research Library database. (Document ID: 1554032611).

Mick Hinton (6  May). Language bill would miss goal: It couldn't stop driver tests from being offered in Spanish. McClatchy - Tribune Business News,.  Retrieved December 8, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Dateline database. (Document ID: 1473806651).

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