Hillsborough teens must take driving test remotely

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County is changing the way it handles driving tests due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hillsborough County Tax Collector stopped driving test on March 19 but on Tuesday announced they’ll start offering test again starting in June with some restrictions.

Those hoping to get a driver’s license will have to follow a number of procedures to help limit the virus’ spread. This includes having their temperature taken and answering a series of screening questions.

Test takers must also be accompanied on the road by a licensed driver who is at least 21.

The person administering the test won’t be in the car, but will be communicating with the driver via Bluetooth device, or the driver should have the passenger hold a cell phone on speakerphone.

“What happens is, our tester will be wearing a mask, he goes out there and you have to do five maneuvers in order to pass the exam,” said Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden. “We also have these tablets that we grade the exams by, whether pass or fail, that we can transmit in the office. Before they go in the office, they will also have to take a temperature check to be able to pick up their learners permit or license.”

According to Belden, their office has consulted with Ryan Pedigo, director for public health preparedness for the Hillsborough County Health Department, to determine the safest approach on reopening.

“All these protocols are not just guessed at,” said Belden. “I will not put an older individual or a retiree with a young  person who may be 15 to 18 to 20. That young kid, according to Ryan Pedigo, there may be high as a 30 percent chance that they are infected and asymptomatic. So, we aren’t going to take that risk.”

How is the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office keeping customers safe:

Some transactions at the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office can be done by mail, but customers are asked to schedule appointments for driver license renewals, driver license examinations, or title work.

“I encourage our customers to utilize our virtual office as an option to conduct business, our website offers you the convenience of completing common transactions online without the need to visit our offices,” Belden said.

Stating Monday, driver license road tests will be administered at three locations: Brandon, East Tampa and Plant City. For more information, click here.

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