COVID-19 Driver’s License Changes: Does Your State Require a Road Test?
Coronavirus has altered a lot about the way we live. In addition to social distancing, face masks, and Zoom meet-ups, teens can add one more big change to the list: driver’s licenses.
With local governments largely closed during the pandemic, states are facing a backlog as people wait for their local DMV to reopen. While many agencies have offered online services for select items, driver’s license road tests are impossible to do over the internet.
This means that even as states begin to reopen for business, teens and other people with learner’s permits could have a long wait for their driving test. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates that at least 10,000 teens will need a road test, a number that will be hard to serve — especially if reopenings are only partial.
Waiving the Road Test for Licensure
For some states, the solution to this problem is to cancel the road test for teen drivers. Doing so will significantly reduce the number of people waiting in line and help DMV employees keep up with their backlog of permit applications, license renewals, and more.
But road test waivers aren’t a free pass. First of all, these waivers are temporary, designed only to last a long as pandemic emergency orders are in effect. If your teen is a few months away from their road test, they may have to get behind the wheel at a DMV in the future.
Second, many states are relying on parents to make the call about their teen’s driving skills, requiring them to vouch for their son or daughter’s skills. Some states also require proof of driver’s ed or a minimum number of hours of driving lessons to waive the road test. Each state makes its own rules, so it’s important to have accurate information about the laws in your area to plan appropriately.
To help you navigate these changes, we’re keeping a list of updated road test information by state. State transportation officials are making decisions quickly and news develops quickly, so check back here often to see what’s happening in your state when it comes to driver’s license road tests.
States With Road Test Waivers in Place
As of April 23, all Georgians between ages 18-63 with a valid learner’s permit can go online to upgrade to a Class D license. Once payment is processed, licensure is complete. Teens age 16-18 can also upgrade without a road test, provided that they have held their learner’s permit for at least one year plus one day and have had no violations.
This policy has since changed. On May 12, 2020, Georgia reinstated the driving test requirement. All of the 20,000 students that received their license without the driving test will be required to take the test prior to September 30, 2020, or risk having their license revoked.
As of May 11, a driver under age 18 can waive the road test as long as they have held a Learner’s Permit for six months without violation and have completed Driver’s Education, Behind the Wheel courses, and have logged 30 hours of supervised driving. In addition, teens will need an adult sponsor to vouch for their abilities, and those adults can pull their sponsorship at any time, which will cancel the probationary license. The Wisconsin DMV says that they may require a road test in the future for anyone who uses the waiver now.
States Considering Canceling Road Tests
Other state governments are considering road test waivers. Right now, these states include:
If you don’t see your state, keep checking. This is a fast-moving situation, and we’ll post new information as this trend continues to develop.