California DMV opens for behind-the-wheel appointments

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Maya Kornyeyeva

Many teens place bright yellow stickers on their cars when they practice driving, identifying them as student drivers.

On Friday June 26, the California Department of Motorized Vehicles (DMV) started administering in-person driver license tests for those with existing appointments. 

During its two and a half months of online service, the DMV pushed back hundreds of appointments, creating a long line of resigned applicants. 

“I’m asking for everyone’s patience as we safely clear the backlog of behind-the-wheel drive test appointments,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon in an official DMV release statement. “For all of those Californians who have been waiting, we know how important this is to you.”

The DMV will be moving forward with a new set of protocols for in-person driving tests, such as requiring the usage of a face mask, gloves, and plastic covers for the passenger seat and floorboard. 

Additionally, in large counties like Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles, temperature checks will be mandatory before an exam can occur. The healthy range for temperature is anywhere below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I am beyond excited that the DMV is reopening for tests because I am eager to get my license.”

— Anna Burford

Although their appointments are still delayed, 16, 17, and 18-year-olds are already on the edges of their seats. Many had been waiting for this moment, and the satisfaction of attaining the freedoms driving guarantees, for over a year. 

Rising junior Anna Burford’s behind-the-wheel appointment had to be rescheduled. Despite her circumstances, she is still looking forward to her test.

“I am beyond excited that the DMV is reopening for tests because I’m eager to get my license […] I can be independent and do what works best for my schedule,” Burford said.

However, the opening of the DMV has also been a cause of frustration for some students, especially if they were late to sign up for an appointment before the closure.

“The DMV opening is definitely a plus, but it’s also a reminder of the time that I missed,” said Valentina Espinosa, an incoming junior. “Had I scheduled a permit test before the closure, I would be one of the people getting served now that the DMV is open.”

Whether or not getting an appointment was a success for them, the opening of the DMV signifies progress for California residents. With the DMV eager to complete all existing arrangements, they have expanded their service hours, added more examiners, and included Saturday service for highly-populated areas. 

“For all those waiting to schedule an appointment, we are hoping that new ones will be available later this summer,” read the official DMV release statement about the topic.

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