Driver's Test-English

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A Montgomery circuit judge is considering whether offering the state driver's license exam in a dozen languages violates a 1990 amendment to the state constitution.

The amendment declares English is the official language of Alabama.

Attorneys for the Southeastern Legal Foundation argued at a hearing today that by law the test should only be administered in English.

SLF attorney Katherine Jorday said allowing tests in multiple languages violates the state constitution and endangers all drivers because some can't read road signs.

Attornies for the state say administering English-only tests would violate a federal anti-bias law because it would have a "disparate impact" on non-English speakers.

Judge William Shashy said he would rule on the suit at a December second hearing.

Martha Sandoval sued the state over its policy of offering driver's exams only in English.

She had wanted to take the driver's exam in 1996, but gave up when she learned that the state, following up a 1990 "English only" law, had stopped offering the test in Spanish.