Wisconsin waives road test for young drivers

Sixteen and 17-year-olds in Wisconsin would not have to take a road test in order to receive their driver’s license under a new pilot program announced by the state Department of Transportation on Tuesday.

Also, drivers age 64 and under will be given the option to renew their driver’s license online. The changes take effect Monday and are expected to remain in place for the remainder of the year.

They are designed to address a backlog in young drivers trying to get their driver’s license and to limit in-person visits to testing sites across the state during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state Division of Motor Vehicles estimates there is a backlog of 16,000 road test requests. Of those, 10,000 are for 16- and 17-year-olds who would be eligible for the waiver. Parents can still schedule an in-person test beginning May 8 if they do not want to sign the waiver.

In order to receive the waiver, the driver must also have had an instructional permit for at least six months; completed driver’s education classes; finished behind-the-wheel training with a licensed instructor; and competed at least 30 hours of driving with a parent or sponsor.

The licenses of about 80,000 people have expired since the pandemic began, the Department of Transportation said. They were granted extensions until July 25. The new program allows those eligible to renew online.

Eligible drivers must be a U.S. citizen with a regular Class D license; be 64 years old or younger; have no new medical restrictions; and not have had any negative change to their vision since their last license renewal.