PennDOT Modifies Driver’s Skills Test to Enhance COVID-19 Safety Measures

By: Andrea M. Cohick, Lawyer at Metzger Wickersham

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reopened license testing centers in June 2020 which were previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, test takers and parents will notice some modifications to enhance safety measures during the driving skills portion of the test. According to PennDOT:

  • PennDOT staff will remain outside the vehicle during the entire skills test and the test taker and accompanying driver will remain in the vehicle.
  • In yellow phase counties, examiner will conduct basic health pre-screening of applicant. If the applicant is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, test will not be administered. There will be no pre-screening for customers in green counties.
  • All customers and accompanying drivers must wear appropriate face masks during testing.
  • Examiners will be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, eye protection during the exam.
  • Examiners will utilize iPads during the administration of testing, which will be routinely disinfected using wipes or spray sanitizer.

The testing will take place in designated areas of a parking lot only and test-takers will not be expected to drive the vehicle into traffic, raising questions as to whether the test takers driving skills are truly being examined. The state says the fail rate for June of 2020, with the modified test, was 26%. The fail rate for June of 2019, with the standard test, was 38%. PennDOT plans on using the above testing procedures for the foreseeable future.

When first learning to drive, it is always a good idea to enroll in a driver’s safety class, as well as, driving school. These classes will help teach and promote the necessary skills to be able to navigate Pennsylvania roadways safely. Click here to view third party non-commercial driving schools.

Customers may continue to complete various transactions and access multiple resources online at www.dmv.pa.gov. Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver's license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; and driver license and photo ID duplicates. There are no additional fees for using online services.

More COVID-19 information is available at www.health.pa.gov. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov or www.PennDOT.gov.

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