The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things, including the way we live, go to school and work, and travel. In particular, many teens came across the issue of not being able to take their road test so they could get their first driver's license. Thankfully, some states made it easier for teens to get their driver's licenses.
Why Did Some States Issue a Road Test Waiver?
Normally, teens take the road test after passing a written test, but due to social distancing rules, mask mandates, and other local requirements, the tests weren't always possible to conduct. States also saw a backlog of teens waiting to take their tests for the first time. Wisconson had a waiting list of 10,000 people at one point.
Some state governments came up with a new solution to this problem: road test waivers. The waiver system allowed drivers who met all of the requirements such as passing the written test, meeting a minimum number of supervised driving hours, and being a certain age, to get their driver's license. Some states even had this waiver program in place long before COVID-19 happened.
Now that COVID-19 regulations have lessened, many states have rolled back their waivers, meaning you may need to take the test in person again.
Which States Still Offer a Road Test Waiver?
These states either instituted road test waivers during the pandemic or had them in place before it even started. Each has its own requirements on how to qualify for this waiver.
Parents in Iowa have the opportunity to waive their child taking a road test if they have taken the appropriate driver's education classes. This rule existed before COVID-19.
Mississippi has completely eliminated the road test for new drivers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teen drivers just need to have their parents or guardians sign an affidavit stating that they:
Completed 50 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving.
Have held a learner permit for at least a year.
Have a parent/guardian who is responsible for all actions of the teen driver and has imparted them with the necessary driving knowledge.
Nebraska grants drivers who have had their permit for at least a year the ability to get their license online without having to take a written or road test. This was a pre-COVID-19 initiative.
Road tests have resumed in North Carolina except for those who qualify for a temporary waiver. Drivers 18+ who need a Class C license and 16- and 17-year-olds who need a Level 2 limited provisional license are eligible. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds must meet these requirements:
Hold a Level 1 learner's permit for at least 12 months.
Complete 60+ hours of behind-the-wheel training with 10 hours driving at night.
No moving, cell phone, or seat belt violations in the last six months.
Pass the vision, hearing, and knowledge tests.
Have driver's ed and driving eligibility certificates.
Never failed a road test in the past.
Teens who receive the Level 2 license must still take a road test to earn their Level 3 license.
Wisconson instituted its road test waiver program as a test in 2020 and has kept it going since. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:
Be 16 or 17 years old.
Had your instruction permit for six months without a violation.
Completed all of your driver's ed coursework.
Completed all of your behind-the-wheel training.
Completed 50 hours of supervised driving (including 10 hours at night).
Have a parent or guardian who will sign your waiver.
If you meet all of these requirements, you can skip the road test as long as you never failed one in the past.
Drive Safely Without Taking a Road Test
If you happen to live in one of the states that don't require you to take a road test, it is still your responsibility to follow all traffic laws. One good way to brush up on any knowledge you may have missed from the road test is to take a driver's education course for teens at DriversEd.com. The course will help make you a safe and secure driver with training from certified instructors.