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Pre-pandemic Ohio driver's license exams return Tuesday

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Posted at 5:42 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 12:52:11-04

CINCINNATI — Driver's license exams were altered when the pandemic struck, but the exam is returning to a mostly pre-pandemic state on Tuesday.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles changed driver's license tests last year by transforming parking lots into closed driving courses. The test examiner also had to stand outside of the car and watch from a distance as drivers maneuvered through the course as opposed to sitting in the car with the driver.

The state ended that procedure Tuesday.

Driving test examiners will return to sitting in cars with test-takers, and the test will return to the open road rather than a closed course. The driver and the examiner have to wear masks inside the vehicle, though, even if they are both fully vaccinated. There is also a brief health screening before the test starts.

The BMV said even with the altered test, they still issued about 500,000 licenses in 2020, which is roughly the annual average. That means the new format didn't slow down -- or make it easier or harder -- for people to get their license. However, officials believe that by returning to the pre-pandemic test, it will free up some hands and resources.

"Under the revised system, we needed a certain amount of space in our parking lot to use a closed course and not all of our facilities could accommodate that," Charlie Norman, registrar of motor vehicles with the Ohio BMV, said. "This will really help us as we move into the summer months, which are a busy time for driver examinations. We’re happy to be getting back to some normalcy."

You can make an appointment to take the driver's license test online by visiting the BMV's website here.