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Getting a driver’s license can be a significant right of passage for many people. However, this involves passing a driver’s license test. While this is arguably an easy process in many states, some make legally driving more difficult than others. In fact, experts agree that one state has much more stringent requirements for a license than others. The state in question is Washington, as a driver’s license from there is a real accomplishment.

Obtaining a Washington Driver’s License isn’t easy

Photo by Drew Angerer/via Getty Images

Let’s be honest, it shouldn’t be easy to get a driver’s license because how a person drives impacts everyone else on the road. This is an important aspect of car safety. However, according to The Seattle Times, the road skills test in Washington State is the most comprehensive in the country. It takes an 80 out of 100 to pass the Washington driver’s license test, whereas it takes roughly half the score in states such as South Dakota.

So, besides the score requirement, what makes it so difficult to get a license to drive in this state? As of 2019, the driving skills test consisted of 19 maneuvers. This includes actions such as parallel parking, parking your vehicle on a hill, and even backing up around a curve. It seems Washington might be the only state that requires the latter maneuver. As of 2012, reports say that about half the people who took their Washington driver’s license test failed it on the first try.

Washington State has safe drivers

It seems the tough requirements for getting a driver’s license pays off. According to SafeWise, Washington is number five for the safest states for driving. It has a .064 fatality rate per 1,000 drivers. Notably, the safest state was Massachusetts.

Washington also came in at number five for the states with the best drivers. This comes from the findings of The Zebra. Officials base this ranking on positive driving behaviors and the number of self-reported aggressive driving tactics. This list also takes into account the number of instances of bad driving reported by onlookers. Of course, one would assume that Washington would have the best drivers, given how hard the state makes it to get a license. However, there are other factors at play. This includes how drivers behave when not in the presence of a DMV official.

States with the best drivers, as reported by The Zebra.

3Arizona (tied)
4Florida (tied)

It’s important to point out that lists like the one used in this section use different criteria to determine the best and worst drivers. However, what remains consistent is that the level of difficulty for obtaining a driver’s license in Washington seems to, at least, somewhat impact the safety of the drivers.

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