DMV to resume behind-the-wheel drive tests with new safety protocols

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The California Department of Motor Vehicles will resume conducting behind-the-wheel tests with new safety protocols beginning Friday, June 26. The DMV had suspended in-vehicle testing since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tests are a requirement for first-time driver license holders and commercial license applicants.

The DMV will automatically reschedule canceled appointments and new appointments will not be available until previously canceled tests are completed. They anticipate canceled appointments to take several weeks to complete.

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

For the health and safety of customers and examiners, new protocols will be put in place for the in-vehicle tests.

Health and safety protocols:

  • All behind-the-wheel drive test applicants will be required to wear a face covering and answer screening questions before they begin their exams.
  • Temperature checks will be added statewide in the coming weeks.
  • DMV examiners will wear protective equipment, such as, face coverings, gloves and place plastic covers on the test vehicle’s passenger seat and floorboard.
  • At least two windows need to be lowered during the test for increased ventilation.
  • Examiners will do more of the test outside the vehicle, for example, when they are providing applicants with pre-test instructions.
  • If a customer’s permit has expired, the customer will need to fill out a new application before their office visit and check in 30 minutes before their appointment time.

In addition to safety protocols, the DMV is also making changes to speed up the testing process and increase the number of exams it can administer each day. One change they will be doing is shortening testing routes for many locations.

The DMV is also expanding the hours for when tests are being conducted, including Saturday service for drive tests in some locations with high demand. They will also be adding more examiners.

The DMV continues to recommend customers to use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals.

For more information, you can visit the DMV’s website.

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