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Roadshow: Georgia now home to 20,000 licensed teens who never took road test

Roadshow — By Sean Szymkowski Roadshow

May 15-- It's physically impossible to practice social distancing during a driving exam, so during the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Georgia temporarily did away with the most nerve-wracking portion of getting a driving license.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order in mid-April that waived the road test part of the licensing process. The state has since relied on truthful parents to sign off on requirements for young drivers to obtain their license. Since the order went into effect, 19,483 Georgia teens have obtained their license without the traditional road test, Car and Driver reported last week. Wisconsin also adopted a similar system, though parents can still schedule a road test for their teenaged driver if they want.

All other requirements to obtain a license in Georgia are still mandatory, such as 40 hours of supervised driving time and a passing grade for the written portion of the process. Of course, it will be mighty easy for a parent to sign off without the 40-hour requirement fulfilled. The driving test is arguably the most important part of passing the exam since it tests drivers' skills on the open road.

Those ages 16-18 who've held a learner's permit for one year and a day can now simply go online and obtain their license after getting a parent or guardian's OK. However, if a new driver has a violation on his or her record, the state will automatically deny them a license. If you're over 18 and have a leaner's permit it'll be automatically upgraded to a license. Those without any learner's permit still need to complete the various written exams. The Georgia Department of Driver Services is largely closed, but appointments for certain services are available.

The order does not apply to motorcycle drivers or those looking to obtain their CDL, but for those in the valid group, they'll get away without the formal driving tests through the middle of May.

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