April 12, 2010
For interviews contact:
Phil Kent (404) 226-3549
Executive Director K.C. McAlpin (703) 477-1623
ARLINGTON, Va.– “Georgia has an official English-in-government law, so it makes sense — in the name of public safety and fiscal conservatism– to pass Senate Bill 67 stipulating that written driver’s license tests for permanent residents be given in English only,” says Phil Kent of Atlanta, a national board member of ProEnglish which advocates English as the official language of government for the United States.
The legislation, authored by Sen Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, overwhelmingly passed the state Senate on a 39-11 bipartisan vote, and now awaits House of Representatives approval.
“S.B. 67 mirrors a Federal Highway Safety Administration rule that all drivers engaged in interstate commerce to be able to read, speak and understand the English language,” Kent notes. “In fact, an Atlanta-based Department of Labor expert attributed a steep rise in work-related traffic fatalities in Alabama a few years ago to the increasing number of non-English speaking drivers on Alabama roads. Nine states require such written English tests and the latest, Oklahoma, requires English for all driver’s examinations.”
“Incredibly, one is able to now take this written driver’s exam test in 14 foreign languages, including Chinese and Farsi – an expanding and costly process involving more and more translators and paperwork. Permanent residents who intend stay here and travel Georgia’s highways must be able to know English— especially our road signage. However, it should be emphasized that – contrary to some opponents’ misinformation– S.B. 67 does not affect tourists or international business travelers who can temporarily come here to drive. Thirty states, including California and Florida, have official English laws without experiencing any negative reaction whatsoever from the international investment community,” Kent says.