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Rep. Tabke’s Plain Language Requirement for DVS Drivers Exam passes Minnesota House

Thursday, April 4, 2024

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved Rep. Brad Tabke’s (DFL - Shakopee’s) legislation to direct the Division of Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) to implement plain language standards and compose a new written portion of the driver’s examination. The bill, House File 3071, passed on a bipartisan vote of 110-21.

“If a Minnesotan has the required knowledge to pass the written portion of their driver’s test, they should be able to do without the barrier of needlessly complicated or confusing language,” said Rep. Tabke. “Regardless of their background, we want safe drivers on our roads, and a huge part of that is taking and passing this test. Passing this bill complies with federal law and makes Minnesota safer.”

The federal Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires any new document or revision to an old document be done in easily understood language. Governor Mark Dayton brought this effort to Minnesota by issuing Executive Order 14-07, which directed all executive branch agencies to use plain language when communicating with the public. 

House File 3071 directs DVS to compose and implement a new written driver’s examination by February 1, 2025, that complies with plain language standards in federal law and the executive order. Not only would these changes make the exam more accessible, they would also reduce the waiting time for the tests. This bill also lists 17 grammatical standards to follow, including:

  • Avoid double negatives
  • Use short, simple sentences
  • Avoid large gaps between the subject, verb, and object in a sentence
  • Do not turn verbs into noun

More information can be found via the bill’s research brief. Video of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information YouTube channel