Getting a driver’s license in Mississippi is now easier than ever

MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – Getting a driver’s license in Mississippi is easier than ever.

Getting behind the wheel solo can be as simple as getting a form signed by a parent or guardian.

Alright, let’s think back. Do you remember when you were getting your license and you had to have a certain number of hours behind the wheel with a professional driving instructor? Well, that’s not the case anymore according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and that has some parents concerned. We spoke with Chelle Franks who is a volunteer firefighter in Mantatchie and a mother of two. She says teenagers these days don’t have enough experience behind the wheel.

“It absolutely terrifies me. These kids have no experience,” said Chelle Franks, a volunteer firefighter with the Mantachie Fire Department.

Chelle Franks has seen her share of car accidents during her career as a volunteer firefighter in Mantatchie.

“We had one a few months ago that was out here in Mantatchie on 363. The roads were wet and he was flying a little too fast around the curve. He missed a curve and flipped his truck twice and was upside down and pinned and entrapped in his vehicle,” said Franks.

Franks fears what inexperienced teen drivers might face on the road.

Under the new guidelines from the Mississippi department of public safety, new drivers are not required to pass a test with an MHP trooper riding with them.

If you’re 16, you need to hold a driver’s permit for 12 months, a school attendance form, and a waiver of road testing affidavit signed by your parents. The waiver says you’ve had 50 hours of training behind the wheel.

“Any parent can go up there and say oh taught them how to drive,” said Franks.

If you’re 18 or older you need a valid school attendance form.

The department’s updated guideline, eliminating the professional driving instructor, is based on covid precautions.

“If people can be in the building, like the day I took him (son), -there were 60-70 people in that building, waiting and getting their paperwork- if they can do that and have their mask on, they can, sure enough, get in a vehicle and do a driving test with these teenagers these days,” said Franks.

Franks 18-year-old son recently received his learner’s permit and driver’s license on the same day.

She says he’s properly trained for his license but she can’t say the same for other drivers.

“They’re putting these kids on these roads and highways, not being properly trained, not being properly checked off. It’s putting them and others in danger,” said Franks.

Franks suggests that teenagers should volunteer at the Mantatchie fire department to understand what first responders go through when they’re responding to a traffic incident as well as gain greater insight on the dangers on the road and how to be a responsible driver.

Categories: Local News, State News