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COVID-19 causes road bumps in drivers training and road tests

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 05:04:02-04

LANSING, Mich. — Teens and adults waiting to get their driver's licenses are hitting some major road bumps.

"No behind the wheel instruction because of social distancing and same thing for road testing there is no testing right now," said Marvin Freed of Capitol Area Driving School.

However, under the shelter-in-place order, some students have been learning the rules of the road, in their homes.

"The state has been strict when it comes to those on the learner side of things and we are keeping up with it," said Freed. "When we are teaching a lot of times students on zoom will try to lay down and we have to tell them to sit up."

"With Zoom we can break out into break out rooms and there can be smaller group interactions so the students aren't just nodding their heads and listening to a lecture," said Rick VanPelt of All-Star Driver Education.

Although students in the March and April session received the roughly 30 hours of online instruction for Session One and Two, they can't get behind the wheel and drive with parents without the hours of in-person in-car instruction.

The most important part about driver's education is what they learn behind the wheel and what they experience behind the wheel.

The online virtual sessions were only for limited approved sessions.

Driving schools are waiting on the state to figure out when they can begin scheduling in-person instruction, behind the wheel instruction and road tests- hoping it's sooner rather than later.

"If you have to make up drivers from your spring sessions during the summer, that puts a lot more on everybody," said Freed.

All Star Driver Education is being proactive and planning what social distancing road tests and driving instruction might look like.

"We are installing our cars with a barrier between the driver and the instructor, all of our cars will be sanitized after every drive, they will be outfitted with hand sanitizer and we will require masks for instructors," said VanPelt.

States like Wisconsin recently waived their road tests until the shelter in place order is lifted.

Freed hopes that doesn't become a reality here in Michigan.

"I am not comfortable if we should just waive road testing and I think it's important that we still offer that and the mandates it."

FOX 47 contacted the Secretary of State's office who says the road test is still currently required by law and the legislature would have to take action to remove the requirement.

We will keep you updated on any changes and when in-person instruction will resume in Michigan.

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