New NC road test exemption law leaves 18-year-old drivers in limbo

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Some young drivers are frustrated as the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on them getting behind the wheel.

“It’s just frustrating that people that are 16, 17 can get a driver’s license but someone who is 18 and a little bit more mature can’t get a license,” dad Thomas Parks said.

Thousands of new drivers are hitting the road every year in North Carolina and now, some teens are doing so without taking a road test.

That’s thanks to a new law passed by Gov. Roy Cooper amid the coronavirus pandemic, but one parent says the bill has some flaws.

“This has been super tough because he wasn’t ready for a license at 16. He’s a much better driver and I thought we were going to walk away with a license and we were going to high five and then it was like ‘womp womp,’” Parks said.

The new law says only 16 and 17 year olds are able to get a level two license without a road test. Because Parks’ son is 18 he can only get a level three license — which requires a road test.

DMVs are still closed for driving tests meaning Parks’ son must continue with a learner’s permit while younger teens are able to get a license.

“Why did we not think about people who fall outside of this? Why not expand that and have the thought process of who else with this effect?” Parks said. “You want to set them up for success and when you see them not able to do that it’s super frustrating.”

Parks says he believes the state could find a way to include others in the new law or offer socially-distant road tests.

“I want to get it resolved for him, getting a job and being a productive member of society and he needs a car to do that.”

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