The nationwide coronavirus lockdown has stopped Americans from doing a lot of things — shopping, hitting the theaters, going to church, working — but in Wisconsin it will not stop teenagers from getting their driver's licenses.
No, the state won't be ramping up extra road tests to take care of a backlog after halting the driving exams in mid-March due to the pandemic. Instead, the state's Department of Transportation has decided to let 16- and 17-year-olds get their licenses without completing a road test.
What's that now?
The state says it currently faces a backlog of about 16,000 road test requests, WCCO-TV reported Tuesday, so the government decided it is going to give driver's licenses — they're calling them "probationary licenses" — to teens without the bothersome road test.
Starting May 11, WisDOT is waiving road test requirements for kids under 18 who have finished drivers ed, completed driving practice requirements, and have received written endorsement from their parent to skip the road test, WCCO said.
According to the outlet, the teens must meet these requirements to be eligible for a road test-free license:
- They must hold an Instruction Permit (also known as a Learners Permit) violation free for at least six months prior to testing
- They must have completed driver education classes
- They must have completed behind-the-wheel training with a licensed instructor
- They must have completed at least 30 hours of driving with their parent/sponsor and their sponsor must sign the road test waiver
Administrators said parents can still schedule a road test, but by appointment only. The limited tests will begin May 26.
It appears that the license sans road test change could last beyond the state's lockdown. According to USA Today, the stay-at-home order in Wisconsin was extended until May 26 and restrictions are easing across the state, but the new driver's license provision is expected to last throughout the 2020 calendar year, WCCO reported.