When I was at the Lewiston Department of Motor Vehicles recently, I noticed this woman coming out of the exam room with a Somali woman. Apparently this woman is a “reader,” someone who can read the exam for non-English-speaking applicants so they can get their drivers’ licenses.
When I found that out, all of a sudden I felt angry inside. My first thoughts were: “Are my tax dollars paying for this reader’ person? Are my tax dollars helping to put non-English speaking people behind a 3,000-pound vehicle, when they apparently need a reader’ to help them take a written driver’s exam?”
I thought, this can’t be. How could they possibly obey our traffic signs?
I am concerned that the safety of Maine citizens may be compromised when non-English speakers are being given driver’s licenses when they apparently need a “reader” to pass a written driver’s exam.
Robert Clark, Auburn
Editor’s note: According to the secretary of state, proficiency in English is not legally required in order to obtain a permit or license in Maine. The state recognizes the importance of access and fairness in the application of law and the delivery of services; interpreters are allowed to read written questions and translate answers for a portion of the written permit exam. They are not permitted to see or indicate road signs or ride in cars during road tests.