Georgia Governor Brian Kemp recently announced that teens seeking a driver's license no longer need to undergo a practical driving exam to get it—they'll just need the "A-okay" from their parents.
Kemp's decision came as part of an executive order on April 23rd, which put in place provisions related to the pandemic.
Because of mandatory social distancing for state employees, the Department of Driver Services is unable to conduct road tests for those seeking their license.
Instead of making teens wait until road tests are safe to conduct again, Kemp decided to rely on parents to determine their childrens' readiness to operate a vehicle by themselves.
The requirements for logged driving practice with a licensed driver, 40 hours in Georgia, have not been waived.
This requirement relies on the honor system, however, and if parents are willing to fudge the numbers there could soon be some very inexperienced drivers on Georgia roads.
Driving school owner Sormi Kenney told Fox 5 Atlanta:
"During these unprecedented times, the Department of Driver Services is trying to make it as easy as a process for people to get their license and to lessen the burden on people right now."
"I'm hoping most parents won't just sign off on those 40 hours, I'm hoping most will take the time and drive with their kids before they let them obtain their driver's license."
Some parents were happy about the change, trusting that their kids were ready for the road. Georgia parent Kendra Woodard was among them.
"I'm good with them dropping the road test piece so she can get out there and drive."
Not all parents thought the order was a good idea. Lynn Ridenour, a parent of a Georgia teen, was concerned about bias.
"I think it would be beneficial to have an unbiased set of eyes on my driver. I think I might be quick to let her get her license not knowing if she knows all the laws."
News of the order lifting the driving test requirement was met with concern online.
@Complex So the extremely low bar to let someone operate a 3000+ lb machine on public space has been removed for th… https://t.co/zOXk7K9rjl— Alex K (@Alex K)1588213763.0
@TheDawgzilla @Complex Look out semis on I-285 Atlanta Motor Speedway— NOTamorningperson✍🏼, Noble Cmte UI Recipient (@NOTamorningperson✍🏼, Noble Cmte UI Recipient)1588204733.0
Georgia: Hmm, a lot of people are dying right now. Is there any way that more could https://t.co/XBSZUBDoxR— Chase Mitchell (@Chase Mitchell)1588231815.0
@Complex as someone that's uncomfortably familiar with Atlanta traffic, I'm genuinely disturbed.— Lythero 🎮 (@Lythero 🎮)1588250792.0
@shannonpurser @Complex Everything, Shannon, Everything— Don Nook (@Don Nook)1588209974.0
Some thought of insurance problems, including rising premiums.
@Complex @davidfrum and watch auto insurance rates soar— nancy cronvich (@nancy cronvich)1588205476.0
@speculawyer @Complex I once worked one of the big insurance companies. Interested to see if they just jack up rate… https://t.co/gdJBmGVRw5— Trajectio (@Trajectio)1588248281.0
While it remains to be seen whether this executive order will have a positive or negative impact on Georgia's road safety, it doesn't look promising.
It relies on parents to honestly and impartially evaluate their kids' ability to drive safely, and that isn't something everyone can do.