Getting a Driver’s License During the Pandemic

The coronavirus has caused an increase in demand for driver’s licenses and the DMV to get overloaded with customers.


Ellie Connor

Many LHS students, whether 16 or older, have been scrambling to get their driver’s licenses in order to gain more freedom and escape the constant parental nagging that comes with staying at home. This desire has only been magnified by the coronavirus, which has forced students to stay at home for longer than usual and left them itching for an escape. 

Unfortunately, the coronavirus not only increased demand, but it altered the process for obtaining a driver’s license and caused a severe backlog in the DMV.

The first option for preparing for a license is Driver’s Ed, a course that takes a student through 30 hours of classes and 12 hours of in-person driving lessons, along with a separate knowledge test at the DMV. Of course, with COVID-19 posing a constant threat for the last nine months, certain regulations have been added to ensure the safety of students throughout the course.

While a typical Driver’s Ed class is in large, in-person groups, the classes have been online after school. This has been cause for immense stress on students who have already had online classes for hours that day. Nancy Anderson, a sophomore at Lakeridge High School, dealt with the pressure that extended periods of time on Zoom calls brought her.

 “It was very overwhelming, especially at the end of the day. It was hard to focus over Zoom since there were a lot of distractions,” said Anderson.

In order to continue getting in-person driving experience, regulations such as mask wearing, cracking the car windows, and wiping down the car between drivers were added to ensure safety for both students and teachers. 

There were frequent cancellations for these drives because any symptoms experienced by students or teachers, even if caused by allergies, lead to an immediate rescheduling of the planned drive.

The second option for earning a driver’s license, the route that I took, was long and confusing since the DMV was constantly overflowing with customers and its website proved to be rather unhelpful. 

In the end, all that I needed to do was take a driving test, which I registered for through the third-party business, Pacific Driver Education, and make an appointment for a knowledge test at the DMV. Safety regulations for the in-person driving test included both the evaluator and student wearing masks and having the car wiped down completely before and after the drive.

Scheduling a DMV appointment during the pandemic was not as simple as it sounded, though, since the nearby DMVs were all extremely backed up. Some students, including sophomore Amelia Bohls, had to drive hours away from home in order to take the knowledge test.

“I had to drive really far away for the test, but the wait was only like five or ten minutes once we got there since the appointment was scheduled in advance,” said Bohls.