Georgia Halts Driver's Tests, Allows Teens To Get Licenses With Parent Approval

by Leah Groth
Woman driving her car
Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty

New drivers in the state of Georgia will not be required to take a driving test in order to get their license

Getting a driver’s license is one of the most exciting landmarks of the teenage years. It starts at the moment a learner’s permit is issued and the learning begins. There are endless afternoons in empty parking lots with mom or dad that often end in frustration in both parties. Then, drives around town with said parents on the verge of nervous breakdowns. There might even be a few dents involved, as learning how to parallel park is somehow even more tricky than trigonometry. Then the whole thing culminates when both a written and road test, required by most states, are passed. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is no way safely administer a driving test. Instead of making first time drivers wait until after the health crisis has subsided, governmental officials in Georgia have opted to temporarily waive the in-person road test, opting for a parent’s signature instead.

On April 23, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced an executive order that teens who have met all the other requirements — including holding a learner’s permit — will be able to get their driver’s license without the “comprehensive on-the-road driving test” administered by the government.

All prospective drivers need to do is head over to the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services website, log in to the system, and take the required steps. For example, “If you are 16-18 and have a Learners Permit (Class CP) and you’ve held your CP for 1 year and 1 day with no violations, the system will display your license as a Class D. Select a Renewal in the top right-hand corner to process your new Class D License. If you have violations you will not be able to upgrade,” they explain.

“If you are over 18 and have a Learner’s Permit (Class CP), the system will also display a Class D License, if eligible. Select Renewal in the top right-hand corner to process your new Class C License.”

However, drivers will still be required to take the dreaded written test if they don’t have a license or permit already. “Any driver over 17, with no current license or permit, must schedule an appointment to take the appropriate knowledge exams.”

Apparently Motorcycle and CDL Drivers aren’t getting out of their driving tests, however, and must schedule an appointment for a road test.

What does this mean for teens? They don’t get to experience the angst-ridden situation of driving around a total stranger looking at them with judgy eyes, just waiting for them to fail to come to a complete stop, accidentally run a light as it is turning red, or failing, after three or four tries, to seamlessly parallel park their car.

It remains to be seen what it will mean for Georgia motorists but it doesn’t seem great to send teens out on the road without first taking a physical driving test.

The change will remain in effect until the state’s Public Health State of Emergency expire, which has been extended to May 13.