Few world events have changed our shared vocabulary as much as the current pandemic. New phrases have become commonplace, with “social distancing” and “wear a mask” now part of the new normal.

Additionally, many rites of passages have been placed on hold — with graduations, weddings, birthday parties and other milestones cancelled. For teenagers, their monumental rite of passage is passing their driving tests and securing driver’s licenses. However, driving tests that involve a student and teacher side-by-side in a vehicle pose a particular challenge in the era of COVID-19.

Safety versus efficiency

Nationwide, Department of Motor Vehicles offices are currently digging through a backlog of driver’s license exams. The resumption of operations is occurring under certain conditions and restrictions. Many of the services offered by the DMV can easily transition to online. However, driving tests represent an improbable, if not impossible, situation.

Some states’ solutions have been to outright waive road tests for teenage drivers, leaving the parents to evaluate their child’s driving skills and subsequently vouch for them to get their license. Some areas of the country only require proof of attending drivers’ education and a set amount of driving lesson hours for a waiver to be approved.

That decision significantly reduced the waiting list and helped DMV staff keep pace with permit applications, license renewals and other services. However, when it comes to safety on the road, inexperienced teen drivers are more likely than others to cause a crash.

As of Sept. 1, only three states had begun waiving road tests: North Carolina, Mississippi and Wisconsin. Road tests are still required for new drivers in New Mexico.

If you have questions about what to do after suffering an injury in a car accident, please see our motor vehicle accident overview. Our personal injury attorneys represent clients throughout New Mexico.