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Tuesday, 16 March 2021 22:09

COVID Causes a Driver License Detour for Teens

Written by Laura Adams, PropertyCasualty360
COVID Causes a Driver License Detour for Teens D. Rose/Shutterstock

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In many states, COVID-19 has caused a significant interruption in the process of getting a driver license.

It follows that a recent Aceable survey found that 71% of parents with a teen said their child’s driving education been delayed by the pandemic.

 

As of December 2020, 43% of parents said their 15- or 16-year-old teen had not completed the necessary education to get behind the wheel.

 

Several factors are contributing to lower driver licensing rates for teenagers. One is that stay-at-home mandates designed to tamp the virus’s spread caused the cancellation of many in-person classes.

 

While many states permitted online driver’s education before the pandemic, additional states now allow it due to the outbreak. However, the Aceable survey showed even the convenience of getting driver’s ed online didn’t motivate many teens to complete it.

 

According to the Federal Highway Administration, fewer teens who qualify to drive will get a driver license. In 2018, only a quarter of 16-year-olds could legally drive. That’s almost half of the number of 16-year-olds who were licensed to drive in 1984.

 

Part of the trend of young people delaying driving can be attributed to more restrictive laws, making it more challenging to get a license than in the mid-'80s. Now, you must complete graduated licensing, which requires new drivers to successfully navigate multiple testing phases before they qualify for a full driver license.

 

The graduated driver licensing laws vary by state. However, in most cases, new drivers must first get a learner’s permit, requiring passing a vision test and a driver’s ed course. Then they must practice driving with the supervision of a licensed adult, and typically only during the day, for a period.

 

Then, prospective drivers graduate to an intermediate license, which requires a behind-the-wheel road test and restricted driving, such as only driving with one passenger or having adult supervision when driving at night.

 

Some states, such as Georgia, temporarily waived road test requirements. However, drivers who got a pass must eventually complete the test or risk having their licenses revoked.

 

Other states, such as Florida, require road tests to be conducted while examiners remain outside of vehicles. They rely on...


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