Lawmakers speak out on Governor Cooper’s bill not requiring drivers test for teens

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) On June 19th, Governor Cooper signed House Bill 158, which temporarily doesn’t require a driver’s test for those 18 and under wanting to get their Level 2 limited provisional license from the North Carolina DMV.

Road tests haven’t been available to the public since March, due to COVID-19 and safety precautions being taken.

For those hoping to get a Level 2 license, they must have a Level 1 learners permit for a year or more, acquired 60 or more hours of supervised day and night driving, and be ages 16 to 17.

The new waiver requires drivers not have any former seat belt, cell phone, or moving violations in the last six months.

Drivers who’ve received their Level 2 license are not required to drive with supervision from 5a.m. to 9p.m.

Drivers with a Level 2 license will eventually have to take the drivers test when applying for their Level 3 license, but for now it’s waived.

North Carolina Senator Jim Perry is happy the state could bring a little joy to young and eager drivers.

“It’s a big deal,” said Perry.

“It’s a big milestone in these young peoples lives. There are so many things that are impacting them now and so many things that have been taken from them, that have gone wrong. It’s good to provide something that is a little bright spot for them.”

Following this new waiver, there’s been issues with people over 18 wanting to get their license too, which this bill doesn’t cover.

“It’s nothing intentional, but when you have to move legislation and move it quickly, you can’t think of everything and you have to focus on things where you can find concensus,” said Perry.

If things don’t improve with COVID-19, Perry believes they’ll be revisiting the waiver details in the future.

Perry also says there’s evidence that shows drivers tests might not be here for much longer.

“The Department of Motor Vehicles would like for us to eliminate the driving test,” said Perry.

“They tell us that their research doesn’t indicate any type of change or variation in safety of the driver based on a driving test score. Especially with a 92% first time pass,” said Perry.

Originally, the state thought drivers tests would resume at the end of June, based on the data at the time.

However, as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, they’re not sure when these tests will resume.

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