Editorial: Driver’s tests need shelter, better start point
Some bad ideas seem impossible to change, if only because they have been done that particular way for a long time.
Take, for instance, the state DMV drivers’ tests in Geneseo. On any Tuesday or Thursday, you will find a cluster of nervous young people and accompanying adults anxiously waiting in a line of vehicles at the west end of North Street, ready to take their turn for the test. The candidates will embark on a circuitous route through the village, hoping to adeptly perform, properly stay alert, studiously signal and perfectly parallel park under an examiner’s watchful eye.
The test trek typically leaves the accompanying adult and whoever else was along for the ride waiting outside in the weather — fine on a warm summer day, but outright unpleasant in the cold, rain, wind or snow.
A gentleman who lives in the neighborhood, who has a clear view of the proceedings from his front window, stopped by our office the other day to suggest there might be a better way of doing this; that perhaps the state could erect a modest shelter for the people who are waiting.
Indeed, this gentleman has been watching people at the spot shivering and trying to stay warm for a good number of decades. He is 79 years old and took his own drivers’ test from that same spot.
If the state is going to build a shelter — or even if it isn’t — the gentleman has a second suggestion: Let’s find another spot from which the candidates depart. This one immediately requires the novice driver to make a turn at the blind, confusing and dangerous intersection where Main Street joins Court and North at different angles and the view of oncoming traffic is more often than not blocked by parked cars.
There are dozens of places in the village which would be more safe. For example, the gentleman suggests the Armory, or the depot at Highland Park — both of which could also provide shelter for those who have to wait.
“Nobody is going to complain about it because they don’t want to offend the examiner. They don’t want to hurt their kid’s chances of passing the test,” he said.
Perhaps that lack of complaints is the reason why DMV seems unconcerned about the plight of those who wait. Geneseo is not unique in its lack of shelter. We know of no drivers’ test shelters anywhere in the region.
On the other hand, Geneseo does seem to be unique in the degree of danger to which young drivers are subjected.