Young drivers eager to take road exams as Minnesota begins to reopen

As Minnesota begins to reopen, young drivers across the state are eager to take their road exams.

Natalie Halvorson was supposed to get her driver’s license on May 18, but her road test was cancelled last week because the exam station was closed due to the coronavirus.

“I was very excited. It’s the thing that every 16-year-old gets to do,” she said. "There were some tears. I was looking forward to it, and then I was disappointed because I was like, this will definitely happen, and then it got cancelled."

Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services will reopen 14 exam stations across the state on Tuesday, where Minnesotans can take written tests, apply for learners permits and take motorcycle and commercial driver's license tests. 

But, Class D road tests won't start until the day after Memorial Day, with priority given to the more than 12,000 people whose tests were cancelled during the stay-at-home order. New road tests won't be available to the general public for a while.

"The lady explained that they were going to start with the first cancellations and work their way up, and seeing how my daughter was supposed to take her test today and got cancelled, she'll probably be one of the last ones to take the test," Natalie’s mother said.

Once road tests resume, examiners will wear masks, face shields or safety googles, and gloves. Prospective drivers are encouraged to wear masks as well and will have to answer a short health questionnaire and have their temperature taken.

They will also have to disinfect their vehicle with sanitation wipes DVS will provide before the test can begin.

“I feel like the risk for the kids is minimal as it is…if she has to wear a mask to protect the examiner, we have no problem with that," her mother said.

For now, Natalie will continue to drive on her learner's permit with her dad riding shotgun, but she hopes by the end of summer she'll be able to go solo behind the wheel.

“I've been waiting a really long time, but I can survive a few more months. It’s not going to kill me. I'll be fine, but it’s disappointing."