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Summer program adds Saturday hours for teen drivers at Chicago-area DMVs

Ten driver services facilities will be opened on Saturdays exclusively for teen drivers applying for their first licenses and permits

When school’s out this summer, getting into the DMV is about to get easier for Chicago-area teenagers and their parents.

Ten driver services facilities will be opened on Saturdays exclusively for teen drivers applying for their first licenses and permits, under a new summer program announced Tuesday by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

The expanded weekend services, including road tests and written tests, will be offered June 1 through Aug. 31, historically the busiest season for teens looking to get behind the wheel.

“Getting your first license is always an exciting milestone, but there’s anxiety for parents. We want to limit that,” Giannoulias said. “Thinking about parents, grandparents and other guardians — just because a teenager is on summer break, their parents aren’t.”

Teen-exclusive services will be offered by appointment from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays at facilities selected for a high percentage of teen drivers: Addison, Aurora, Bridgeview, Chicago West, Des Plaines, Elgin, Joliet, Lake Zurich, Plano and St. Charles.

Services are also being added at DMVs in Belvidere and downstate Bethalto.

Families can start making appointments Wednesday at (800) 252-8980. Any unfilled Saturday appointments will open to the general public on each date at 7 a.m.

Fifteen other DMVs already operate for all drivers on Saturdays, including on Chicago’s North and South sides.

Teens are required by state law to have a parent or guardian with them in person at a DMV to get an instruction permit or license.

The initiative creates an additional 1,000 appointments per week for nearly 9,000 permit holders who are on track for a license this summer, while also freeing up more midweek slots for the general public, according to Giannoulias’ office. More than 112,000 people got their first license in Illinois last year.

Facilities with teen service hours will also have “selfie stations” for new license holders, providing data protection tips — like making sure to block out driver’s license numbers and addresses if posting to social media.

Giannoulias estimated the state’s cost for the expanded service hours at $50,000 or less. “This is an efficient way for us to make things easier for families,” he said.

Copyright CHIST - SunTimes
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