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Behind-the-wheel driving tests returning to the DMV

The behind-the-wheel driving tests at the DMV are coming back on June 26. Canceled appointments will automatically be rescheduled.

CALIFORNIA, USA — After a long wait, first-time drivers in California might finally be able to earn their driver's license. There will likely be a wait for appointments, but behind-the-wheel tests are coming back to the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

“I’m asking for everyone’s patience as we safely clear the backlog of behind-the-wheel drive test appointments,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “For all of those Californians who have been waiting, we know how important this is to you.”

Testing is set to resume on June 26 after being temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's a requirement that first-time driver's license holders and commercial license applicants need to fulfill.

However, for some people, it might not come very fast. The DMV is automatically rescheduling canceled appointments, and they expect to spend several weeks getting through those tests. New appointments will be available later in the summer.

The return to testing, like so many other things during this time, won't be business as usual. New protocols will be followed for the health and safety of the customers and examiners.

The new protocols include:

  • A face covering requirement
  • Screening questions before the exam
  • Temperature checks in counties like LA, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego; Temperature checks will eventually be rolled out statewide in the coming weeks.
  • Protective equipment for DMV examiners
  • At least two windows lowered to increase ventilation
  • More outside-of-vehicle testing, such as pre-test instructions

Customers will also have to fill out a new online application before their first office visit if their permit is expired and show up 30 minutes before their appointment.

Given that theirs a large number of test to work through, the DMV is also looking to expedite their testing process and increase the numbers of exams they can do each day.

This might mean shortening test routes in some areas and expanding testing hours, which includes Saturday service for drive tests in some high-volume locations.

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