Key fact: Waiver for driver’s license about to end

It’s back to the road for those who want to get their license

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Kazie Quinette, Reporter

Upcoming Drivers Education students may be unhappy when they find out the road test to get a driver’s license will be required in 2023 and can no longer be waived.

Lori VandenBergh, Drivers Ed instructor of De Pere, says the Department of Transportation (DOT) will soon be requiring the road test. The DOT has tried to pass this law but failed due to the Wisconsin Department of Legislation.

“(The DOT) decided to make the road test an option because of Covid-19,” VandenBergh said. “The DOT allowed parents to decide if their children can waive the test. They upped the behind the wheel hours from 30 to 50, also allowing kids to have their permit for up to a year.” 

Those changes, along with the option to waive the road test, were made due to the pandemic; however, it has been two years. Is that just the right amount of time to change it back? Some kids with older siblings who got the chance to waive may think it’s unfair, but is the road test even beneficial to the ones who have chosen to take it?

“The DOT says it’s an 84% chance of kids passing anyway,” VandenBergh said.  ”There’s not a lot of failures, and that’s why a lot of them waive.”

Twenty students – all juniors and seniors – from De Pere High School were asked if they waived the road test. Sixteen said they had the road test waived, and the other 4 took the test. Out of the 16 who did not take the road test, 6 of them had some sort of accident or ticket. On the other hand, the 4 students who did take the test have not gotten into any accidents nor received speeding tickets. 

Should the DOT and state of Wisconsin keep the road test optional, or should it be required for every new driver? 

“I think it should be required, but made easier,” says Samantha Hettmann, freshman.

What about someone who already has their license? 

“Probably require it,” Layla Walters, a junior, said. “I’m glad I didn’t have to take it, but I’m also not the best driver in the world. So for safety reasons, they probably should require it, especially if about 80% of people pass.”