April 30, 2020 at 6:48 AM EDT – Updated May 1 at 11:25 AM
ATLANTA (WSB/CNN) – A driving test is a rite of passage for teenagers, but the coronavirus pandemic has put that on hold in Georgia.
For the time being, the state is allowing 16-year-olds to get a license without taking the road test requirement.
This move has some parents concerned about safety on the streets.
“I think eliminating a driving test puts people at greater risk,” Jen Hancock said
Her son will get a learner’s permit next year. She said she wouldn’t let him get a license without taking the road test.
“If we have a stay-at-home order, where do these 16-year-olds need to drive?” Hancock said.
The weekslong suspension of in-person road tests due to the virus has 30,000 teens in waiting to upgrade from a learner’s permit, but Gov. Brian Kemp has taken action to change that.
“It allows this driver to move to that next phase without having to take the road test,” said Spencer Moore, commissioner of the Dept. of Driver Services.
The commissioner said teens seeking a license can obtain one at their website. They must provide a written statement attesting they have completed nearly 40 hours of supervised training with the help of an adult or professional instructor.
Many have applied. “We have already seen, in the last hour, 730 teens upgrade to this provisional license,” Moore said.
He said with dozens of hours behind the wheel, the vast majority of teenagers easily clinch the road test, even though that won’t be required for the time being.
“We see a very high pass rate. We see more than eighty percent on the first round,” Moore said.
Alicia Wiggins and her 15-year-son Tanner don’t think a license should be handed to a teen without a road test.
“As a driver, I want to know for myself that I’m ready to be on the road, too,” Tanner said.
Teens who qualify for a provisional license can print it out after getting approved online. A couple of weeks later, the actual license will arrive in the mail.
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