Quinci LeGardye | Contributor
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began administering behind-the-wheel drive tests June 26, after a long suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV will only be accepting previously cancelled test appointments, and will make changes to increase the amount of tests each office can administer each day.
Even with plans to increase testing hours, the DMV still expects it will take several weeks to get through these tests and begin accepting new appointments. DMV Director Steve Gordon said, “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.”
The DMV initially opened on June 11 to customers who had existing appointments, and for transactions that could only be completed in-person, including paying registration for impounded vehicles, applying for a reduced-fee ID card, or reinstating a suspended or revoked driver’s license. According to the D.M.V. website, new appointments are not currently available.
There will be new testing protocols for behind-the-wheel drive tests to comply with social distancing. All applicants will have to wear a face mask throughout and answer screening questions before the exam. Temperature checks will also be taken in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, and will expand statewide in the coming weeks.
The DMV’s test administrators will also give applicants pre-test instructions outside of the vehicle. They will wear face coverings and gloves, and will place plastic covers on the passenger seat and floorboard of each test vehicle. Also, at least two windows will need to be down throughout the test for increased ventilation.
The DMV has also extended the enforcement date for REAL ID, the state’s enhanced identification card to Oct. 1, 2021, a year later than previously announced. After that, travelers will need a REAL ID to travel through T.S.A. checkpoints and to access federal facilities.