Document Type




Publication Date

Winter 1995


Eno Center for Transportation

Source Publication

Transportation Quarterly

Source ISSN



In 1984, researchers determined that the readability of state drivers' manuals exceeded the average literacy levels in the United States. Because text complexity threatened the ability of license applicants and practicing drivers to understand the information presented in the manuals, a potential safety risk was indicated. This study analyzes recent editions of the manuals using readability formulas and formal text presentation ratings. It was found that the average difficulty of the drivers' manuals was reduced by more than one grade level and that the 1994 manuals are clearly superior to their earlier versions, but that, in the interest of highway safety, improvements should still be sought.


Published version. Transportation Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Winter 1995): 105-115. Permalink.

William Henk was affiliated with Penn State Harrisburg at the time of publication.

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