Teens face issues getting driver’s licenses because of halt to road tests

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The North Carolina DMV hit the brakes on road tests because of the pandemic. Hundreds of teenage drivers across the state are being denied a license right now. Many viewers shared the disappointment on the FOX8 Facebook page.

A spokesperson from the DMV headquarters in Raleigh said they’re working on a way to bring these tests back, but there is no timeline for that.

“It’s stopping me from getting a car, driving and getting back and forth from work and helping my mom get around,” said Tierra Wallace, a teenager who was hoping to get her license.

It’s a teen’s ticket to freedom, but in order to get a license, you have to pass a road test. It’s a test that can’t be done with social distancing.

“This has now come up as an issue and we’re going to do our best to address the issue,” Representative John Torbett said.

Torbett leads the transportation committee in the general assembly.

His office has received complaints, and it prompted him to draft a bill. If passed, it would serve as a waiver for people needing to take the DMV road test.

“What this bill will do is make sure that the insurer will have notification of the person that will be learning to drive or getting behind the wheel,” Torbett said.

Once that information is complete, he said the insurance company would need to notify the DMV, who will then contact the potential driver.

“They will call that individual or the parent or the guardian and say we have knowledge that he is insured so he may operate a vehicle until he can take the driving tests,” Torbett said.

Torbett’s looking to present this bill sometime next week.

“In a committee forum and then getting moving. Of course, it’ll have to go through the Senate and get the governor’s sign off as well,” he said.

Parents like Regina Smith are onboard with the idea.

“I’m OK with that. He was already to the point where he had over 60 hours of driving experience,” Smith said.

Smith’s son, Hayden, was scheduled to take his driving test in March. This was right before social distancing restrictions were put in place.

“He’s very frustrated because his friends who turned 16 are able to be out and mobile and he feels like, ‘Well I’m kind of stuck at home,'” Smith said.

Torbett said drivers will have to take the test in the future, likely towards the beginning of the year. In the meantime, he suggested parents get kids behind the wheel and give their own driving test to make sure they are better prepared for the road.

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