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Georgia now home to 20,000 licensed teens who never took road test

The state government has relied on the honor system, with parents giving young drivers the OK to obtain a license.

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No maneuverability test for some youngsters.

Mihajlo Maricic/EyeEm/Getty Images
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It's physically impossible to practice social distancing during a driving exam, so the state of Georgia temporarily did away with the most nerve-wracking portion of getting a driving license during the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order in mid-April that waived the road test part of the licensing process. The state has since relied on truthful parents to sign off on requirements for young drivers to obtain their license. Since the order went into effect, Georgia reports 19,483 teens obtained their license without the traditional road test, Car and Driver reported on Friday. Wisconsin also adopted a similar system, though parents can still schedule a road test for their teenaged driver if they want.

All other requirements to obtain a license in Georgia are still mandatory, such as 40 hours of supervised driving time and a passing grade for the written portion of the entire process. Of course, it'll be mighty easy for a parent to sign off without the 40-hour requirement fulfilled. The driving test is arguably the most important part of passing the exam since it, you know, tests drivers' skills on the open road.

Those between ages 16-18 who've held a learner's permit for one year and a day can now simply go online and obtain their license after getting a parent or guardian's OK. If a new driver has a violation on their record, the state will automatically deny them a license, however. If you're over 18 and have a leaner's permit it'll be automatically upgraded to a license. Those without any learner's permit still need to complete the various written exams and schedule an appointment to do. The Georgia Department of Driver Services is largely closed, but appointments for certain services are available.

The order does not apply to motorcycle drivers or those looking to obtain their CDL, but for those in the valid group, they'll get away without the formal driving tests through the middle of May.

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First published April 30.
Update, May 8: Adds information on number of drivers now licensed without the road test.