October 17, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Nearly 20,000 teenagers in Georgia have received their drivers’ licenses without a road test

Nearly 20,000 teenagers in Georgia have received their drivers' licenses without a road test

They are all part of the dreaded road test, which, for decades, has become a ritual for every American teenager to get a driver’s license.

Yes, until now

“I’m nervous about driving tests – with parallel parking and all that,” said Willa Pevey, 17 years from Tucker, Georgia.

Thousands of other teens also don’t exist in Georgia. They all get licenses without having to take an official road test. This is Georgia’s way of handling the savings of thousands of road test requests that have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the state’s Department of Driver Services released how many teenagers whose permits have been upgraded since the road test waiver was announced last month: 19,483 teenagers.

Wisconsin will also begin releasing road tests

Georgia is not the only state that ignores road tests. Wisconsin announced this week will start doing the same for children 16 and 17 years, starting Monday.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates that of the 16,000 pending road test requests, the new program will allow 10,000 of those requests to be eligible for neglect.

Tom Rathkamp of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, is the 17-year-old father of Stephanie and they plan to apply for a license by ignoring the road test, but not without a little more practice first.

“Both my wife and I have said that we will bring him more practice to ensure that he is ready,” Rathkamp said. “We will give our own little driving test if you want, because we are the people who signed it by giving it a license, we want to make sure … I think that with responsible parents, this can go without a hitch.”

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Some people think it’s dangerous

Of course, Georgia and Wisconsin both have requirements that teen drivers must meet first.
In Georgia, they must hold their student permit for 1 year and 1 day without violation and complete at least 40 hours of driving with supervision.

In Wisconsin, teens must hold their student permission for at least six months without violations and complete at least 30 hours of driving with their parents.

But some parents are still wary of cost relief.

Laurie Walters’s son can also get his license online – but because he’s over 18 years old, he doesn’t need his parents’ permission.

“It’s dangerous if no one checks and balances to make sure this person knows the thin pedal on the right is the gas and the left brake pedal,” Walters, who lives in Cumming, Georgia, told CNN.

Sarah Casto, a driving instructor at the 1st Stop Georgia Driving Academy, has started online petition to get Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to reverse his decision to ignore the road test.

“Everyone’s response is always that parents must take responsibility for their children, but we cannot assume that everyone has responsible parents. That’s a dangerous idea,” Casto told CNN.

Teenagers like Pevey, however, are psyched.

No problem he could not take part in the rites of other teenage transitions: taking off on Camry their parents, licenses at hand, tasting freedom.

At least, not yet – with a pandemic raging.

“It’s still very cool to have it,” he said.

Jamiel Lynch, Madeline Holcombe, and Carma Hassan from CNN contributed to this report.

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