Minnesota lawmakers discuss changes to allow new drivers to get license without taking road test

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Fifteen-year-old Sharla, the daughter of a KSTP photographer, will celebrate a milestone birthday in July.

"I was actually really looking forward to driving places by myself," she said.

But with road test locations closed, she wonders if she will be able to take her test and get her license.

"I would definitely be sad if I wasn't able to get it for a long time," she added.

New driver concerns impact so many that it wasn't hard to find another one — KSTP Reporter Jessica Miles' 16-year-old niece, Avery, across the border in Wisconsin.

Avery was scheduled to take her road test next week but, under a new pilot program, she won't have to.

Wisconsin waives road test for young drivers

"I was really excited because I've been nervous for the test just because it's the real deal, it's not just a practice with the instructor or driving with your parents," she said.

"For families with young drivers or soon-to-be drivers, it's a very important issue," said State Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville.

Koznick said lawmakers will look at a bill that would allow new drivers, who've completed classroom and supervised driving requirements, and those who are at the point of scheduling a behind-the-wheel test, to get a provisional license.

"We want to be able to provide some flexibility, some common sense on how we can have people drive on the road after they've been qualified to a certain point," Koznick said.

He said the provisional license could last up to two years.

"This is only a temporary measure, then when they would be required to renew the provisional license, a road test would be required at that time," Koznick added.

There would still be some restrictions for new drivers getting a provisional license, like how many people they could have in their car for a certain length of time.

Wisconsin's changes go into effect on Monday.

Koznick said Minnesota's bill has bipartisan support, so he hopes to see some changes by early summer.