Driving tests for teen drivers could be waived

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — New teen drivers in Wisconsin may no longer have to take a behind-the-wheel exam driving exam under a proposal from Gov. Tony Evers approved by the Legislature’s budget committee on Tuesday,

The Republican-controlled committee voted to allow the state Department of Transportation to provide waivers for the test effective net year.

The department last year initiated a pilot project in response to the coronavirus pandemic to reduce the number of people needing an in-person driving test. From May 2020 through April 2021, there were 48,100 drivers who obtained their license without taking the traditional drivers test, according to budget papers prepared for the committee.

Evers had proposed making the pilot program permanent as part of his state budget.

To qualify, the driver must be applying for a non-commercial driver’s license, successfully completed a driver education course that includes 30 hours of behind the wheel driving experience and not have any moving violations within six months of applying. An adult must also consent to waiving the test.

The state estimates that about 75% of applicants a year would waive the driving test, or about 20,250 out of 107,000.

The proposal is part of the state budget the full Legislature will vote on likely later this month, sending it to Evers for his consideration.