ATLANTA — The governor’s office has dropped the road test requirement for teens applying for driver’s licenses, which has some parents concerned.
The official road test is normally a rite of passage for teens to get a driver’s license. For obvious reasons, the tests were put on hold during the pandemic.
Channel 2′s Tom Regan was in Alpharetta, where 15-year-old Tanner Wiggins was getting driving lessons for his parents. His learner’s permit will be ready for an upgrade to a driver’s license in a few months.
Wiggins said that taking a road test to get it would bring peace of mind.
“As a driver, I want to know for myself that I’m ready to be on the road, too,” Wiggins said.
Before the virus, over 5,000 Georgia teens a week took the official road test to get their license. There's a backup of 30,000 people who want to take the test, but now, they've been given permission to skip it.
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"What the executive order does, it allows the teen driver to go to that next phase without having to take that road test because of social distancing problems, obviously, in trying to provide the test," said Spencer Moore, the commissioner at the Department of Driver Services.
Instead, teens who qualify can apply for a provisional license on the DDS website. They'll have to provide affidavits that they have completed about 40 hours of driver training either by a parent or instructor.
The commissioner said that much time behind the wheel brings the skills and confidence to get a license, which has been clear in the road tests they normally do.
“Many of them are trained in those settings and they are ready to go,” Moore said. “We see a very high pass rate. We see more than 80 percent on their first round go.”
Wiggins hopes that before he's ready to apply for his license, the road testing requirement will be back. So does his mom, Alicia Wiggins.
“I have mixed feeling because I do feel we need to keep social distancing," Alicia Wiggins said. "But I also feel nervous about having drivers on the road that haven’t actually passed a road test.”
For now, teens who qualify for a provisional license can print out a temporary license after getting approved online. The actual license will arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks.