Nearly 20,000 teenagers in Georgia received driving licenses without road tests

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Nearly 20,000 teenagers in Georgia received driving licenses without road tests

They are all part of the dreaded road test, which for decades has been a rite of passage for every American teenager to obtain a driver’s license.

Well, until now.

“I had been nervous about the driving test – with parallel parking and everything else,” said 17-year-old Willa Pevey of Tucker, Georgia.

Not even thousands upon thousands of other teenagers in Georgia. Everyone got their licenses without taking an official road test. It is the way in Georgia to handle the backlog of thousands of road test requests that have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the state’s Department of Driving Services released the number of teenagers who had updated permits after the road test waiver was announced last month: 19,483 teenagers.

Wisconsin will also start giving up on road tests

Georgia is not the only state to give up on road tests. Wisconsin announced this week will start doing the same for 16 and 17 year olds, starting on Monday.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimates that out of 16,000 road test requests that have been suspended, its new schedule will allow 10,000 of those requests to be eligible for waiver.

Tom Rathkamp of Cedarburg, Wisconsin is the father of seventeen-year-old Stephanie and they plan to apply for his license with a waiver of road tests, but not before without a little more practice.

“My wife and I both said we would take her out to practice more to see she was ready,” said Rathkamp. “We will do our little driving test if you want, because we are the ones who are signing to give her a license, we want to make sure … I think that with the responsible parents, this can go smoothly”.

Some argue that it is dangerous

Of course, Georgia and Wisconsin both have requirements that teen drivers must meet first.
In Georgia, they must have obtained student permission for 1 year and 1 day without violations and have completed at least 40 hours of controlled driving.

In Wisconsin, teenagers must have obtained student permission for at least six months without violations and have completed at least 30 hours of driving with their parents.

But some parents are still wary of the waivers.

Laurie Walters ‘son was also able to get his license online – but since he’s over 18, he didn’t need his parents’ permission.

“It is dangerous that there is no one who has the checks and balances to make sure that this person knows that the lean pedal on the right is gas and the left pedal is brake,” said Walters, who lives in Cumming, Georgia, at CNN.

Sarah Casto, driving instructor at the 1st Stop Georgia Driving Academy, has started a online petition to convince Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to reverse his decision to give up on road tests.

“Everyone’s answer is always that parents should be responsible for their children, but we can’t assume everyone has responsible parents. It’s a dangerous idea,” Casto told CNN.

Guys like Pevey, however, are thrilled.

It doesn’t matter that he can’t take part in that other teenage rite of passage: take off in Camry’s parents, driver’s license in hand, enjoy freedom.

At least, not yet – with pandemic fury.

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

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

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