Wisconsin DMV Implements Road Test Waivers


Twenty-twenty has been crazy, and covid has made it even more impossible to predict. On the long list of things we never thought we’d see in 2020: the driver’s test being waived. 

“I was very surprised at first. I did not ever think I would see that change,” driving instructor Larry Severson said. “The more I researched it and found other states have done this, I understand why the DMV made the change.”

This came as a shock to many people.

“I was shocked that they were just giving licenses out to people without testing them,” junior Michael Antonelli said. “It’s a little scary because there’s a lot of people who have their drivers’ test waived and they are good drivers, but then there are also people who aren’t as safe on the roads.”

Antonelli was one of the many students that did not have to take their behind the wheel test. He says that although he was relieved of that pressure, he believes that he missed out on an important milestone in life. 

“Honestly, it is a life experience you should have to go through,” junior Mia Handly said. “It’s obviously nerve-wracking, but putting you under that pressure can really bring out your actual driving skills.” 

Severson has a different viewpoint on the pressure aspect of the test. 

“I think this takes some pressure off the students. Some students did not pass the first time even though they are good drivers,” Severson said. “They get nervous and make mistakes they normally do not make.”

One student believes that there are two main reasons why students don’t pass their behind the wheel test: being overconfident and getting put into confusing situations.

“I think if you go into it too confident, you’ll tend to speed,” Handly said. “Something I worried about personally was if the light turns yellow and I’m at an awkward length away from it, do I stop or do I go?”

Getting your license in the comfort of your own home is a lot different than at the DMV. 

“We just went on to the DMV website, checked a couple of boxes, and then hit print,” Antonelli said. “They obviously can’t take your picture because of COVID, so they just took my picture from my temps. It took like 15 minutes, and then I had a piece of paper that I had to use for like a week until I got my card.”

Summer driving is one thing, but when the roads turn bad it presents a whole new set of challenges for a new driver.  

“I think my biggest worry is gonna be first-time winter drivers that were waved off by parents,” Handly said. “I don’t think some of the parents have enough knowledge to waive that kind of thing. There’s a driving instructor for a reason.”

In the spring, the DMV was in a tough spot and made the decision to make this change. Although it has not been confirmed how long it will be, the DMV is planning on extending the waivers even longer than the end of 2020.

“I think the DMV made a good decision, as everyone wants to complete and receive their license,” Severson said. “ I would be okay if they continue this pilot program for a full year to see the complete results.”