They're certainly not a measure of even minimal competence as a driver. You take a written (now digital) test that Forrest Gump could pass, along with (maybe) a cursory "road" test that takes place in the parking lot of the DMV. A 12-year-old could pass these tests. More to the point, adults far less competent than the average 12-year-old routinely pass these tests. They have a driver's license, alright – but calling them "drivers" is generous. The sail fawn-addled, SmoooVee doing 80 in a snowstorm, '86 Buick in the left lane refusing to move right, double-yellow-crossing, half-blind inattentive Taco-eating marginality of the average Driver Americanus is known the world over.
So, we do we bother with them at all? Because in the U.S., a driver's license is really an ID card. A sort of internal passport we're all compelled to carry – and produce, upon demand. It has very little to do with driving – and much to do with herding us like the cattle we've become.
Read more at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e11.1.htmlweeblylink_new_window