Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese
Those are the languages in which Alabama currently gives its drivers license exams. If you think its nuts for people who can’t read English road signs — I mean, c’mon, Farsi? Thai? in Alabama?: — to get drivers’ licenses, you’re not alone:
Requiring Alabama driver’s license tests in English only is a matter of public safety for the people of this state, according to Tim James, Republican candidate for Governor of Alabama.
“It makes common sense to ensure everyone with an Alabama driver’s license knows and understands traffic laws and traffic signs,” James said. “Offering driver’s tests in 12 other foreign languages may be politically correct, but it’s not in the public’s interest to license people to drive when they can’t read traffic signs. On a practical note, people who learn our language enable themselves to take better advantage of opportunities — cultural, economic and educational.”
He pointed to a 2004 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that attributed a sharp increase in work fatalities in Alabama including a 72% increase in work-related traffic fatalities, to the fact that increasing numbers of employees and drivers could not read or understand warning signs in English.
Wow. So despite the ridicule of liberals: bloggers — and even some conservatives like James Joyner — there is a factual basis for James’s “This Is Alabama. We Speak English” ad — which now has had more than 60,000 views.
Even Marc Ambinder is forced to admit the issue is at least “marginally” legitimate.
Robert Stacy McCain