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State drivers can soon take permit exam at home

By Kirsti Marohn

Starting this week, would-be Minnesota drivers hoping to get a learner’s permit will be able to take the knowledge test online.

The move is aimed at relieving the long lines and six- to eight-week wait times people are experiencing at exam stations across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning Thursday, the test can be taken online at home with a parent, guardian or adult 21 or older observing, or at authorized third-party testing locations such as a deputy register’s office or driver’s education program.

Emma Corrie, director of the Driver and Vehicle Services division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said her agency had considered offering the exams online, but wasn’t planning to do so until the pandemic hit.

“With the need for social distance, the fact that many of our customers are struggling with coming into our locations, and putting health and safety as a priority for our customers and our staff, it was a no-brainer that we needed to go here,” she said.

The agency tested the online exam last month with about 120 students and is ready to roll it out to the public, Corrie said.

Minnesota has been working with an outside vendor and other states, including Iowa and Arizona, that already offer online testing, Corrie said. The exam will be limited to 30 minutes and will include randomized questions and security features to make cheating difficult, she said.

Minnesotans can request to take the drivers test online by going to drive.mn.gov and clicking, “Take a Class D Knowledge Test.”

The online option is currently only available for the class D knowledge test, not commercial or motorcycle licenses. Road tests still need to be taken in person.

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