Georgia Ditches Driver's License Road Tests During Pandemic
With state governments enacting countless changes during the current health crisis, many have risen up to decry the walking back of our civil liberties. Some are absolutely convinced leadership has crossed a line by prohibiting (or criminalizing) rights guaranteed to them by the United States’ founding documents in a time of crisis. Others are just angry because they think the economic ramifications of shutdown orders are screwing things up more than the coronavirus itself.
One group that is assuredly not complaining, however, is Georgian teens.
Extending its state of emergency, Georgia is indefinitely suspending the need for youngsters to pass their road test in order to procure their driver’s license. That’s per one of the many executive orders issued by Gov. Brian Kemp this month. He remains adamant that the state needs to reopen for businesses, but says it has to be done smartly, with some businesses revived while others have to wait. Allowing parents to vouch for children with a learner’s permit is seen as part of the plan.
Considering most road testing involves a relaxed trip around the block, the amount of risk this creates is debatable. You’re really only required to prove you’ve absorbed the fundamentals of driving in the United States, mainly as it pertains to parking, and adept at filling out forms. Want to learn how to recover from a slide on a challenging closed course before getting some time in with dense urban traffic? Move to Finland, where the government has decided to turn its entire population into stunt drivers. In America, the bar is lower; you’re expected to continue developing your skills independently or stay out of everyone’s way.
Truth be told, any bumps in skill your author received at an early age came from familial involvement or mistakes made after getting certified to pilot a motor vehicle. The state was really just there to provide documents outlining the rules of the road (which were gone over with the parents and grandpa at home… when I was twelve) and ensure the necessary body parts were up to the task of driving. But perhaps not everyone is so eager to drive as a child or fortunate enough to have an entire family willing to train them years before they’re technically supposed to.
With that in mind, one wonders if Georgia is making right call. We’re not sure there’s a way to perform driving tests while social distancing, as someone is supposed to sit next to you writing notes before saying “Can you drop down the visor and look at yourself in the mirror? Because I just wanted you to make sure I’m giving this license to the right person.” Sure, it’s a terrible line, but an important lesson for teens that not every triumph is accompanied by fanfare (nor devoid of confusion).
Motorcycle certification still requires a road test in the State of Georgia, and all other requirements to obtain a license are still mandatory. But teens (16-18) with a valid learner’s permit are exempt. Ditto for those 18 and above, provided they also have a Class CP permit. If you live in the state and need help, here’s a handy link to get you started. Though, we imagine most of our readers can drive already. To them, we ask if Georgian teens are going to be alright… or will we find them running amok on public roads later this year?
[Image: pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock]
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