Many young Iowans who are turning 14 while schools are closed due to the pandemic are anxious to get their learner’s permits to drive, and the Iowa Department of Transportation is working to accommodate them.
Darcy Doty , director of the DOT’s Driver & Identification Services, says those teens can now take their instructional permit written tests — at home. “Many of the students were doing that through the Skip the Trip program at school and we’ve modified that so that parents can actually proctor that exam at home,” Doty says. “The student does not need to come into our service centers right now because we’re only open for essential service needs.”
The test is administered through a secure website and if the student passes, they’ll know right away and the results are automatically forwarded to the DOT. Once the service centers reopen — tentatively in May — the teen will be able to stop in to get their first provisional license.
“We know that when somebody turns 14, that’s one of the most exciting things they want to do, come in and take that instructional permit test and get that permit,” Doty says. “We want to be able to make sure that the student has a ‘win’ during this COVID-19 experience.”
Parents, guardians and legal custodians are able to proctor or supervise, the test-taking process and Doty says she’s not concerned that a teen wanna-be driver might be allowed to cheat. “We certainly hope that a parent would not do that because ultimately it’s about that individual getting behind the wheel, that young person being able to be knowledgeable enough to earn that instructional permit,” Doty says. “It is to everyone’s best interests to proctor that exam appropriately.”
To apply to take the test at home, the parent must have a valid Iowa driver’s license and will need to complete and submit the Application to Proctor Knowledge Exam form to the Iowa DOT. https://iowadot.seamlessdocs.com/f/ApptoProctorKnowledgeExam