Kemp Makes U-Turn, Says Teens Must Pass Road Test After All

ATLANTA, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp made a U-turn Tuesday and issued an order requiring new drivers to take road tests after all.

Georgia teenagers who’ve already taken advantage of the waiver — about 20,000 of them — must now pass the road test by Sept. 30 to keep their licenses. Tests may either be administered by riding with the applicant “or by remote means,” according to the order.

The change of course follows almost two weeks of criticism after Kemp lifted the road-test requirement. The waiver was part of an April 23 order meant to guide activities through reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.

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At the time, Department of Driver Services Commissioner Spencer Davis explained it to WSB-TV Action News as a way to enforce social distancing by not putting two strangers so close in the same car.

Instead, the waiver caused fear that hordes of ill-trained teenage drivers would terrorize Georgia’s roads, giving people one more reason to shelter in place. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that about 20% of new drivers fail the road test the first time they take it.

While reinstating the road-test requirement may look like an evasive maneuver — the original order never mentioned testing later — Kemp insists that it really was just a minor course correction.

“We just wanted to clarify that,” Kemp said, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Anybody who has gotten the driver’s license but hasn’t taken the test — even if they’ve met the criteria of so many hours on the road and went to driver’s school — they’re still going to have to come back and take the driver’s test.”


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