The California Department of Motor Vehicles will resume administering behind-the-wheel drive tests tomorrow. In-vehicle testing—a requirement for first-time driver license holders and commercial license applicants—has been suspended since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DMV will automatically reschedule all canceled drive test appointments.
“I’m asking for everyone’s patience as we safely clear the backlog of behind-the-wheel drive test appointments,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “For all of those Californians who have been waiting, we know how important this is to you.”
The DMV anticipates it will take several weeks to complete previously canceled tests. Appointments for new behind-the-wheel tests will not be available until previously canceled tests are completed.
For the health and safety of customers and examiners, the DMV is instituting numerous new testing protocols. All behind-the-wheel drive test applicants will be required to wear a face covering and answer screening questions before starting the exam. Initially, applicants in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties also will have their temperatures checked. Temperature checks will be added to protocols statewide in the coming weeks.
If the customer’s permit has expired, the customer will need to fill out a new online application prior to their office visit, and check in 30 minutes before their appointment time.
DMV examiners will wear protective equipment —face coverings and gloves—and place plastic covers on the test vehicle’s passenger seat and floorboard. At least two windows need to be lowered during the test for increased ventilation.
Examiners will conduct more of the test outside of the vehicle, for instance when they are providing applicants with pre-test instructions.
The DMV is also making changes to expedite the testing process and increase the number of exams it can administer each day, including shortening the testing route in many locations. The test routes will be long enough to adequately determine driving knowledge and safety skills. The DMV is also expanding the hours when tests are conducted, including Saturday service for drive tests in some high-volume locations, and adding more examiners.
Employees at 169 field offices are assisting customers with current appointments at the specific office and limited transactions that require an in-person visit. The DMV continues to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals.