COVID-19 changes how we get a driver’s license

COVID-19 has changed many things in our lives, but the one thing I did not expect it to alter was the process for getting a driver’s license. Some of the standard procedures, like filling out lots of paperwork, are the same, but other things, like getting behind the wheel for the driver’s test, have changed. 

When I took my test in Oct., the administrator was speaking to me from outside of the car, whereas others had administrators who would call your cell phone while inside the car with a parent/guardian. For some, this was troublesome.

Jacob Weinthal, a Jupiter High junior, recently got his driver’s license and found the process a bit challenging.

“The administrator was not in the car with me, so that made directions harder to follow,” Weinthal said. “Outside of [communication] it was a smooth and easy process.” 

While communication during the driving test was difficult, the COVID-19 procedures were essentially the same as anywhere else in public. 

I don’t think the procedures affected me too much,” Jason Dobuler, a Jupiter High junior who got his driver’s license in Sept., said. 

Generally speaking, the experience is different from how it used to be because of mask wearing, social distancing and more online procedures. However, since most teens getting their licenses are used to these guidelines, it didn’t present too much of a problem.

“I don’t think [COVID-19 procedures] made much of a difference, I just had to wear a mask in the car,” Savannah Bates, a Jupiter High sophomore, said. “Making an appointment was difficult.” 

Surprisingly, making the initial appointment for the driver’s test was the biggest challenge. 

Originally, I had an appointment scheduled in Martin County because it was the earliest spot available, until it was canceled due to COVID-19 procedures where you have to be a resident of the county in which you are taking the test. It also turns out that Palm Beach County uses a completely different website to make the appointment, so that caused delays as well. I was finally able to make an appointment, but on the day I went that day to take my test, they made me reschedule due to weather. 

Dobuler had a similar experience and agreed that getting an appointment was not as smooth as in years past.

“My appointment got cancelled at the DMV twice,” Dobuler said. 

Despite the appointment and communication issues, getting a driver’s license is an important life event, and I was eager to make it happen, even with changes caused by COVID-19. Overall, it was a moderately easy, if unconventional, process, and now I can always say I got my driver’s license during a pandemic.