The Georgia House of Representatives approved legislation yesterday that would require almost all prospective motorists in the state to take their driver’s license exam in English. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this month, was agreed to in the House by a strong margin of 104-58. If small differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills are ironed out, the measure will go to Gov. Sonny Purdue for his signature.

Introduced by Sen. Jack Murphy, S. 67 would require examinations for all non-temporary driver’s licenses in Georgia to be conducted in English. In the interest of increasing road safety and English proficiency the measure would eliminate most use of translators and driver’s license exams in languages other than English. The bill contains exceptions for temporary licenses, as well as for the illiterate, who would be allowed to have the questions read to them.

Georgia currently offers prospective drivers the opportunity to take their exam in 14 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Laotian, Polish and Spanish. According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, roughly 5,000 people take driver’s license examinations in languages other than English every month.

U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( www.usenglish.org ) now has more than 2 million members.