Man Passes Driving Test After 272 Tries

Seo Sang-moon, a 69-year-old South Korean, passed his drivers’ test after only 271 failed attempts.

You Probably Don’t Want to Drive Behind This Guy (Reuters)

Seo Sang-moon passed the academic part of his driver’s license examination on his 272nd attempt earlier this week. The repairman, from a small town in the southeastern part of the county who will soon turn 70, said he was illiterate and used the test process to teach himself the rules of the road because he could not read them in a manual. Since the oral exam was launched, Seo took the test as often as he could, paying about $1,000 in fees along the way. Each failure taught him a little more, and after 271 attempts, he was able to get the minimum score needed to pass the academic test.

Test officials were thrilled to see Seo pass. “He has been coming here for more than five years and we regard him almost as being one of the family,” an official from the exam office said by telephone.

One would think learning to read would have been faster.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    Driving test in East Asian country can be a bit ridiculous, and far more serious than in America. They expect you to drive in very narry course (painted) at certain speed (I’ve seen my mother trying to qualify for a license in Taiwan). In Japan, each and very vehicle has to go through official DMV safety inspection to get license renewal. It can be both good and bad. It certaintly does NOT improve on driving skill nor etiquette (I leave driving to the professional taxi drivers in Taipei).

  2. James Joyner says:

    Interesting. Although this was apparently just the WRITTEN test (administered orally, in this case).

  3. McGehee says:

    That even beats Martin Luther writing 95 theses before finally getting his master’s degree.



    Oh. Never mind.