CHICAGO (CBS)– Taking a road test in Illinois for your driver’s license could look quite different when Secretary of State offices reopen.
Perhaps the examiner will be following in a car behind you, instead of sitting in the passenger seat. Morning Insider Lauren Victory took a drive to find the answer.
Ann Phelps has only been in her car three times since March.
“I have been sheltering at home, ordering my food online,” she said.
The 85-year-old is stewing over the chore that awaits when quarantine is done.
“I got my notice to get my drivers license and I am a little bit afraid of going to a place that’s got a lot of people around,” Phelps said. “Then you have to get in the car with the driver right sitting next to you? That’s another thing. That’s not a 6-foot distance.”
CBS 2 learned road tests might be much different when Secretary of State facilities fully reopen. Examiners in West Chicago, one of only three locations operating, are currently using walkie talkies to direct people who are renewing their commercial drivers licenses.
Applicants navigate their cabs, alongside a licensed buddy of their choosing.
Two test administrators follow in a state car, one evaluating, the other instructing.
Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker said the office is considering replicating this process for regular drivers tests.
Phelps asked why auto-renewing isn’t an option, pointing to Wisconsin. A few weeks ago, that state began allowing first-time drivers to skip their road tests.
“We’re not comfortable with that approach at all,” Druker said. “We think especially a first-time driver really does need to be tested.”
Druker gave CBS 2 access to one of only three facilities open right now to show us plastic shields that will be installed at every office.
Computer exams are offered at every other station. Vision tests are still a must but they will ll be wiped down after each use and hand sanitizer will be at the ready.
There’s also social distancing reminders on the wall and in red on the floor.
When all these spaced-out chairs are filled, the marks outside help people wait 6-feet apart.
Phelps and others with expiring licenses have 90 extra days to be re-tested. The starts when the governor’s stay-at-home order ends.
Druker said opening earlier for a senior hour is a possibility, but tricky because it’ll require union negotiations. He reminds the public most license renewals along with vehicle registrations can be done online.