Should We Have High-Performance Licenses? Readers Respond

The Drive’s commenters weighed in on the idea of a more restrictive license for high-performance vehicles. The answers were surprising, but more surprising? No punches were thrown.

byAaron Cole| PUBLISHED Oct 21, 2022 3:07 PM
Should We Have High-Performance Licenses? Readers Respond
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Special licenses for high-performance vehicles may be communism or may be a good idea. 

At least, that’s what we heard from you all when we asked Monday if high-performance, high-horsepower vehicles should require a more stringent license with higher qualifications.

Different licenses for different vehicles aren’t new although federalized, common standards have only been on the books for 30 years now. Commercial Driver’s License standards are more rigorous and require specialized training including different endorsements for different materials. 

Many commenters pointed out that while a CDL is required for semi-tractors, it’s not necessarily the case for large motorhomes:

“No, what they need is special licensing for large vehicles that you can currently drive with a standard license, aka. motorhomes. That's right you can go out and just drive a large bus sized motor home with just a standard license in the US and it's insane.” Kerrija wrote.

More than a few commenters pointed out that raising standards for every driver’s license could be a good idea, regardless of performance:

“More training?  To do what?  Current laws require all cars to be operated in a safe manner and under the speed limit.  High performance cars are just as easy to drive safely as a standard sedan or SUV.  The idea makes no sense.  You'd almost be encouraging them to drive faster and more aggressively... "but your Honor, I passed all the additional training required to get this license.  I don't see how you can call it reckless when I've proven to the state that I do in fact know how to drive this vehicle safely even when pushing it harder than most cars can be pushed." Nathan King wrote.

Enforcement was a sticking point, and a well-considered issue worth addressing:

“Yes I do agree that we need one, but there are so many questions?  What if I bought a stock Mustang and added a supercharger and other high-performance parts?  Would it now apply to it, even thought it didn't when I originally bought it? In that case, I really don't see how we could enforce it.” Scott Richardson wrote.  

Informally, a slim majority of commenters said special licenses should be a consideration for high-performance vehicles and many of those pointed to younger and older drivers as good justifications for those. That seemed to be the thread for most commenters: somewhere between “could” and “should” is common sense—which isn’t the same as communism, in case you're wondering.

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