Wisconsin Allowing Young Drivers to Skip Driving Test

The move is designed to address a backlog in young drivers trying to get their driver's license and to limit in-person visits to testing sites

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

The move is 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 if they do not want to sign the waiver.

Teens eligible for the waiver must meet the following requirements, according to the Department of Transportation:

  • You are a U.S. Citizen​
  • Your Regular Instruction Permit is unexpired or has been expired for less than one year​
  • Must have held the Regular Instruction Permit for six months violation free
  • Must have completed a Driver Education Course and Behind the Wheel and the records are on file with DMV
  • Must have completed 30 hours of supervised driving
  • Has an adult sponsor. You will be asked to provide your adult sponsor information, including their driver license or ID card number, during this transaction.

Young drivers will be deemed ineligible if:

  • There is a failed road test on record
  • Your driver license is suspended, revoked or canceled in Wisconsin or any other state
  • You are age 18 or over
  • You are moving to Wisconsin from another state
  • You have not successfully completed an approved Driver Training Education Course or Behind the Wheel

For students who don’t qualify for the road test waiver or whose parents or guardians prefer a road test, DMV road tests resume May 26, 2020, by appointment only, and should be scheduled online, the department's website states.

Here is what is required of sponsors (parents or guardians):

  • Sponsor agrees to accept responsibility and vouch for the safe driving abilities of the new student
  • Sponsor will sign electronic agreement 
  • The sponsor’s driver license or ID card number will be entered into the online system and they will receive verification that our records indicate they approved the skills test waiver 
  • Sponsor may withdraw sponsorship which cancel the probationary license.

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.

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.

Drivers can apply for an online driving application here.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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