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Ohio BMV announces date to resume driver examination station skills testing

Posted at 12:58 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 23:17:32-04

CLEVELAND — The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) announced that for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown much of the state, several locations will offer driver examination station skills testing beginning on June 12.

The skills test will be available by appointment only at the following locations:

  • 8210 County Road 140, Suite C, Findlay, Ohio 45840 (Hancock County)
  • 22133 Rockside Road, Bedford, Ohio 44146 (Cuyahoga County)
  • 990 Morse Road, Suite B, Columbus, Ohio 43229 (Franklin County)
  • 873 East Main St., Newark, Ohio 43055 (Licking County)
  • 502 McCarty Lane, Suite 3, Jackson, Ohio 45640 (Jackson County)
  • 10940 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45231 (Hamilton County)

The BMV said all remaining driver examination station skills testing will resume on June 16 by appointment, which can be made here.

Those who had a test canceled due to COVID-19 will be contacted by the BMV for priority-based scheduling.

Testing will use a modified process that allows the driver examiner to score the prospective licensee from outside the car in accordance with guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health.

With so many driving tests canceled during the pandemic, Charlie Norman, state registrar of motor vehicles, said there will likely be a backlog to work through as testing starts again.

Norman said in a typical month, there are approximately 40,000 driving tests in Ohio, and the BMV has been closed for skills testing for about three months now.

Norman said although there are just six locations opening Friday, six more will be added on Monday, with more to come in the weeks ahead. He urged people to be patient and added, "We're getting as many appointments up as we can."

After those whose tests were canceled during the pandemic have rescheduled new appointments, everyone else will be able to schedule.

Julia Grignon, a 16-year-old rising junior who lives in Solon, has been attending classes at Heights Driving School.

"At first I was like a little stressed about [the closures], because when you turn 16 it’s like a big thing to get your license," Grignon said of the BMV closures and canceled tests. "But I appreciate everything, just like all the workers, just trying to get everything done. I know that it’s stressful to get everyone with their stickers and license that couldn’t over quarantine."

Grignon said she'll schedule her test as soon as she can.

The question all along for the BMV has been how to conduct these tests safely.

"We knew this was going to be an issue, putting the driver examiner in 25 different cars a foot away," Norman said. "It’s difficult to maintain those social distancing guidelines."

Norman said the BMV began working on this immediately when the closures went into effect and modeled testing after what some other states, such as South Carolina, were doing.

He said the tests would be conducted on a closed course in BMV parking lots, or, in some places, perhaps municipal or county parking lots.

"A lot of the testing criteria are the same as you would see on a road," Norman said. "Coming to a full stop at a stop sign, yields, using turn signals, changing lanes, etc."

Benjamin Ball, a student at Heights Driving School from Euclid, said he wasn't sure what the learning process would be like with the changes.

"I don’t think it’ll be the same as an actual instructor in the car, speaking with you, pointing," Ball said.

Ball, who turns 16 on Thursday and has had his temps since February, said he'd wait to schedule his test until the backlog of tests gets smaller.

"Everyone’s new to this, you know, nobody has it figured out," Ball said.

Norman said the BMV was looking forward to providing testing again.

"We know it’s really important for people, and we’re happy to be able to do it in a way that keeps our examiners safe but really keeps the general public safe as well," Norman said.

Since reopening on May 26, BMV locations said transactions are up 8% from 2019 during the same period. As a reminder, many services can still be done online. The BMV encourages customers who absolutely must visit a deputy registrar location to take advantage of the. “Get in Line, Online” program. The system will allow customers to get in line and reserve a spot in the queue without physically waiting in the office.

RELATED: Photos: Long lines form at local BMV locations on first day of reopening

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