Georgia Suspends In-Person Driving Tests During Pandemic
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
For teenagers, the driver's test is kind of like a rite of passage, isn't it? But at the moment, in Georgia, thousands of kids are getting their licenses without actually taking that test.
NOEL KING, HOST:
Because Governor Brian Kemp has waived the test during this public health emergency.
GREENE: The point is to help enforce social distancing. It's not like students can sit six feet away from an instructor while they're inside a car. But people like Al Barber, president of the Georgia Driving School Association, thinks this is a really terrible idea.
AL BARBER: I believe this is one of the most dangerous acts - this executive order - that we've seen in our state.
KING: Barber is still offering road tests at his driving school.
BARBER: Even if you issue them all a license, this will come back to bite us in property damage, fatalities and injuries.
LUCY JONES: We're not talking about a light subject. We're talking about getting behind a motorized vehicle that can kill you or kill someone else.
KING: That last voice is Lucy Jones (ph). Her 16-year-old daughter got her license on Friday. And despite the rule change, Jones told her daughter, you will take the driving test.
JONES: Driving is a privilege in America. So our opinion was, you need to finish the drill. You need to go take the test.
GREENE: Now, we should say, teenagers in Georgia do have to pass other requirements to get that license - a clean record, approval from a guardian, 40 hours of supervised driving. And they need to have their learner's permit for a year plus a day.
KING: For 16-year-old Amaya Johnson (ph), that day will come in a couple weeks. When she saw on Instagram that she wouldn't have to take the test, she was astonished.
AMAYA JOHNSON: At first, I thought it was a joke. I thought it was, like, a fake news article that someone just posted or something. And then I looked it up. And I saw that it was true. And my first reaction was to call my mom.
KING: Her mom, Catherine Johnson (ph), says this new rule is irresponsible.
CATHERINE JOHNSON: She's going to have to go through our own internal Johnson Family DMV in order for her to be able to drive by herself.
GREENE: Amaya is glad about that. She knows people getting licensed now without the test. And she doesn't especially want to share the road with them.
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