Check this out. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles actually did something, dare I say, cool. The state decided to revamp the driver's manual that is used to study for the driving test taken mostly by young people before they get a driver's license.
At first, I was going to write about how the State of Florida "dumbed down" the manual or made it easier to pass the driving test because in the first two months of 2015, as much as 80% of people taking the driving test were failing. Obviously, if the state needs people to pass the driving test to get a driver's license, and 80% of people can't pass the test, that's a problem.
It's not a problem for those of us who think there's already too many cars on the road, but the number of people getting a driver's license is shrinking each year, and there's obviously a tremendous amount of revenue to be had by having more licensed drivers, so the state actually did something smart for a change.
Take a look at the new driving manual and you can't help but want to keep reading it. It actually looks visually appealing and has interesting blurbs and important facts sprinkled throughout. I mean, really, who likes reading government manuals? About the only thing they used to be good for was curing insomnia.
But for something so important, like making sure everyone understands the rules of the road and is able to grasp the concepts, it was necessary for something to change. What's interesting is the new manual has the exact same number of pages as the old (104), but because of the layout and changes in font, graphics, etc. . . it just reads better.
It's almost as if the state hired a marketing company to come in and overhaul the manual to make it more "consumable." I wish they would do that to everything government puts out. How nice would it be to look up the IRS tax codes and actually understand what you were reading without having to re-read it 20 times. I know, I know, no one reads the tax code, but maybe that's the problem.
By changing the look and feel of the information, and modernizing it, the government can actually get more people involved in participating in government. How many times have you been in a voting booth and been so confused on one of the ballot initiatives that you weren't sure if you were voting for or against something, so you just left it blank and walked out?
Let's stop trying to confuse people and let's try to educate people. Let's also recognize that information doesn't have to be presented in long, boring paragraphs to be official.
Even though I am a lawyer, I find the way contracts and statutes are written to be obnoxious. It's like lawyers are trying to impress people or justify their high fees by using fancy words. Doctors, you're not any better with all your fancy terminology either, but that's a post for a different day.
For now, I'll take it one step at a time and give a "shout out" to the State of Florida for moving into the 21st century one government manual at a time.
Regardless of which manual you used to pass your driving exam, chances are pretty good that won't remember everything you read and will probably get a traffic ticket somewhere along the line, If you do happen to get a ticket, I'm here for you, and don't worry, I promise to only send you information that's easy to read.