Students Seek Driver’s Licenses Amid Pandemic

Contra Costa County is now on the purple tier with a stay-at-home order issued once again. While many businesses have been forced to close their doors temporarily, it turns out that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) remains open. However, like so many other businesses, there are necessary changes that have been made as to how it is run in order to ensure safety.

Although it’s become more difficult to schedule appointments, some students have been able to get tested for their driving permits or licenses at the DMV through walk-ins.

“[I] showed up when the DMV opened,” said sophomore Anna Stubbington, who has managed to take her permit test. “There was no way to schedule permit testing at the time.”

Sophomore Felix Walden was also successful in taking his permit test through a walk-in. “It wasn’t very busy when we got there 2 hours early, however, there was a small line,” said Walden, “It grew…as time went on.”

“There was a line all the way around the building and into the parking lot,” said Stubbington, though she said they got in within an hour before the scheduled appointments started. The DMV opens at 8 AM and appointments can be scheduled from 9 AM, so “the goal was to get in between 8-9 AM for efficiency and lower wait time.”

The stress of taking the test during the pandemic can be off-putting for many, but so is going to the DMV at any given time. For Walden, the biggest issue was filling out the paperwork when he got there. “I was confused about what information we had to bring,” said Walden. “I felt like it was a lot of information, and we forgot to bring it the 1st time, so we had to rush home and get everything, just to drive back… it was just unclear and I wasn’t sure what to bring until after we had gone.”

Walden is certainly not alone on this matter. “You do have to do the forms online, otherwise you’ll have to do it at the DMV which is just a mess,” said Stubbington. Assuming students do the paperwork ahead of time, Stubbington claimed that people should be all set to take their tests.

Stubbington added that students cannot currently go into the DMV with a parent because of COVID-19. “And, if you fail the 1st permit attempt, you have 3 attempts in 1 day; use them all!”

Once students have earned their permit or license, it is important that they use it responsibly. Wherever you’re driving, make sure to socially distance yourself and wear a mask at all times.