teen driver

States Waive Road Tests for Teen Drivers

The 2020 COVID-19 or coronavirus, pandemic has changed many aspects of American life. Social distancing measures prevent many services from operating at full capacity, creating waitlists and backlogs that may take months to clear. Many states have adapted to the situation with new processes for government services, like obtaining a driver’s license.

For instance, to clear the backlog of thousands, some states have decided to waive the road test requirement for teenagers attempting to obtain driver’s licenses. These measures may have legal implications for any resulting car crashes or traffic violations.

New Policies Aim to Promote Safety and Convenience

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation estimated that 10,000 teens were waiting to take their road test in May 2020. In response, the state now allows drivers under 18 years old to waive the road test requirement and receive a probationary license if they meet the following criteria:

  • Keep a learner’s permit without violation for six months
  • Complete the required education course
  • Complete behind-the-wheel courses
  • Record 30 hours of supervised driving
  • Passed all road tests taken

Additionally, the teen must secure an adult sponsor who may pull their sponsorship and cancel the probationary license. The department plans to run the program through the end of the year. If the licensed teens drive safely and without a significant increase in violations, the state hopes to make the program permanent.

Mississippi and North Carolina are adopting similar programs to help with their backlogs, with slight variations on expectations. If these programs are successful, it could inspire even more states to waive road tests, from New Mexico to New York.

New Processes May Lead to Legal Trouble

The next few months will reveal the efficacy of these new programs. If more teens cause car crashes this winter, lawyers may use the resulting lawsuits to challenge the policy. However, Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas have used similar policies for years. The state of Wisconsin cites the success of these programs as proof of their efficacy.

Stay Safe, Stay Smart, Stay Protected

Those injured in car accidents can protect themselves and their rights by pursuing legal action. A local attorney familiar with New Mexico motor vehicle laws can assess one’s case, parse through dense insurance paperwork and draft a settlement that secures restitution.

Our attorneys at McGinn Montoya Love Curry & Sievers PA, PA (MMLCS) are nationally respected for our work in representing the victims of motor vehicle collisions that cause catastrophic injury or death in Albuquerque and throughout the state of New Mexico. If you have suffered severe injuries due to another’s negligent actions, we will fight to win you justice and the maximum compensation to which you are owed.

Contact our Albuquerque lawyers online or at (505) 405-4441. Hablamos español.


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We are dedicated to supporting families during the most challenging times, with a focus exclusively on cases involving catastrophic injuries or the loss of a loved one. Please reach out if you have any questions. We look forward to speaking with you.

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