Wisconsin DMV seeks to make road test waiver program permanent

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GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) – As of May 2020, a waiver allows 16 and 17 year olds to skip the road test requirement in Wisconsin. Instead of getting behind the wheel to get their license, parents of teens can go online and choose to forgo the road test for their child. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation initiated this pilot program during the pandemic. Officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles said teens must hold a driver’s license for at least six months, complete approved driver training courses at third-party schools or with their high school, and record at least 30 hours of driving. with their parent or sponsor under various conditions. Then teens can be given a probationary driver’s license online, where distractions are limited in the car by requiring them to only have one person in the vehicle who is not related to them, then there is limited hours during which they can drive the vehicle.

DMV officials said about 49,000 waivers have been issued since the program began last year. Now the DMV believes the opt-out option has been beneficial and would like to see this pilot program made permanent. He says other states have been doing this for years and have had success.

“We are receiving very good feedback from our customers from parents who feel very comfortable with this option and grateful that it is a choice,” said Kristina Boardman, Administrator, Wisconsin DMV.

Boardman said the license was included in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget, while Kris Engebretson, the owner of Advanced Driver Training in Green Bay, said some driving schools had been told by Representative Callahan’s office that he had been deleted.

“The Joint Trade Finance Committee decided to revert to the core budget, which in our view took that part of the governor’s budget. And so now they will have to do it, if they want this program to be a permanent program, they will have to go through the entire legislative process to get it, ”Engebretson said.

Engebretson said if the road test exemption became permanent, it would have a negative impact on his business.

“I think it would hurt the driving public just because teens don’t take driver training seriously anymore, they just devote their time to it. Driving schools are required to pass the pupil, provided they finish all their hours with us. So if we have a student who isn’t driving very well, there’s really nothing we can do. We just have to pass them and they get their driver’s license, ”Engebretson explained.

DMV officials said they no longer see any backups in waiting times to take the in-person road test. They ask people to plan about four weeks in advance.

Boardman says they don’t have a lot of negative impacts from the people who chose the opt-out option.

“The people who took the waiver that we see about 1.7-1.8% getting convictions are involved in accidents, the ones who took the test with us, for whatever reason, these 16 and 17 year olds have a rate of 2.1 to 2.3%. show convictions or accidents, ”Boardman said.

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