GOVERNMENT

Utah driver license tests will be available in languages other than English

Mar 22, 2022, 3:11 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm
Driver license test language...
FILE: People social distance as they wait in line to get into the Driver License Division office in West Valley City on Monday, June 29, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Starting in January 2023, the written test for a Utah driver license will be available in five languages besides English. The change reflects a new state law just signed by Governor Spencer Cox.

Senate Bill 216 was sponsored by State Senator Luz Escamilla. It passed both houses of the Utah legislature unanimously.

State officials don’t know which languages will be printed. The Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs determines which languages are most commonly spoken in Utah. According to a report in The Salt Lake Tribune, a state health department survey in 2016 determined the most commonly spoken languages in Utah are English, Spanish, Chinese, German and Navajo.

New driver license requirement applies only to written test

The new requirement applies only to the written test required of all driver license applicants. The driving skills test will still be English, said Chris Caras, the director of the Utah Driver License Division. But he said the division has found ways to accommodate non-English speakers.

“We can use hand gestures. We actually have a graphic that we can try and sit down with people prior to going out on a test,” he said.

Caras says the division has no plans to hire multi-lingual personnel for its testing program.

SB 216 appropriates $60,000 to cover the cost of translating and certifying the tests. Caras says that’s just what the division asked for.

“Where it’s five languages and the legislative body was good enough to give us some time to get the logistics in place, I’m confident we’ll be able to meet the deadline,” he said.

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Utah driver license tests will be available in languages other than English