After being suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will resume administering behind-the-wheel drive tests today.
The driving portion of the test is a requirement for first-time driver license holders and commercial license applicants.
Due to a large number of backlogged tests that had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the DMV will automatically reschedule all canceled appointments. Officials say it will take several weeks to complete testing for previously canceled tests, and the DMV will not offer new behind-the-wheel tests until previous tests are completed.
“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 in a statement. “For all of those Californians who have been waiting, we know how important this is to you.”
A number of new testing protocols will be in place to ensure the health and safety of customers and examiners. All drive tests applicants will be required to wear a face covering and answer screening questions before starting the exam.
Temperature checks will be offered initially in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, and checks will be added to statewide protocols in the coming weeks. Customers with expired permits will need to fill out a new online application prior to their office visit and check in 30 minutes before their appointment time, officials said.
DMV examiners will wear face coverings and gloves and place plastic covers on the test vehicle’s passenger seat and floorboard. At least two windows will need to be lowered during the test for increased ventilation. Examiners will conduct more of the test outside of the vehicle, such as when they are providing pre-test instructions.
To expedite the testing process and increase the number of exams it can administer, the DMB will shorten testing routes in many locations. The routes “will be long enough to adequately determine driving knowledge and safety skills,” officials said.
In addition, the DMV will expand testing hours, including Saturday service for drive tests in high-volume location, while also adding examiners.
The DMV is continuing to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions.