Pilot Program to Allow Online License Renewal
(OnFocus) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will allow teens who have completed their driver training requirements to choose to waive their road test starting May 11.
The agency announced on Tuesday that teens under 18 will be issued a probationary license if they have completed their classroom training, behind-the-wheel training with a licensed instructor, and 30 hours of driving with a parent or guardian.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are over 10,000 Wisconsin teens who haven’t been able to take their road tests, the agency stated. Normally, over 2,000 road tests are completed each week. About 98 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds who take their road test will pass on the first or second attempt.
“Safe driving is a result of practice and instruction. When young people learning to drive have completed all necessary requirements and demonstrated to their instructors and to their parents or guardians that they are ready for a probationary driver license. This program, which has been safe and effective in other states for years, will allow them to move forward,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman said. “The DMV will offer road tests, but this pilot program will allow another path forward for those who qualify.”
DMV estimates a backlog of 16,000 road test requests; 10,000 of those will be eligible for the road test waiver.
Road test appointments can be made online beginning Friday, May 8. Testing, by appointment only, begins May 26. DMV stopped doing road tests in mid-March due to COVID-19.
When road tests resume, examiners will apply a seat cover when entering the driver’s vehicle and wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a face shield, to protect the driver and themselves. After the exam, novice drivers will order their license online from home and the card will be sent within 10 business days.
For permit testing, DMV customer service centers will increase hours starting May 11 to Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation also announced a second pilot program. Beginning May 11, eligible persons with a Wisconsin driver license will be able to renew it online.
“The Division of Motor Vehicles has been at the forefront of making changes to protect the public and our associates during the public health emergency, while continuing to provide vital public services,” Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “These pilot programs represent innovative solutions to help Wisconsin address challenges created by the pandemic.”
Each program eliminates the need for in-person visits to a DMV service center by enabling drivers to complete the tasks online.
Due to COVID-19, approximately 80,000 people whose driver license expired have received an extension to renew. Those extensions, with late fees waived, expire July 25, 2020. Those who have delayed visiting a DMV to renew their driver license can do so at wisconsindmv.gov/renewDL.
To be eligible for this program, drivers must meet all the following:
- Must be a U.S. citizen with a regular (Class D) driver license (Commercial Driver Licenses do not qualify)
- Must be 64 years of age or under
- No new medical restrictions
- Has not had a negative change to their vision since the last renewal
Customers who renew online will receive a confirmation email they can print and use until their new card arrives by mail within 10 days. The $34 renewal fee remains the same. After the next normal renewal cycle of eight years, customers will need to visit a DMV for a new photo to complete the renewal.
Renewing online may not be an option for everyone. While the deadline for a REAL ID has been extended one year to October 1, 2021, customers wanting a driver license that is REAL ID-compliant will need to visit a DMV Customer Service Center. Without a REAL ID designation on a driver license or ID, travelers will need another form of identification, like a passport, for domestic air travel.
These pilot programs are expected to continue through the 2020 calendar year.