Getting a learner’s permit will soon get a little easier.
The Gulf County Tax Collector’s office announced that as of Jan. 13, new drivers and those looking to obtain a CDL commercial license will be able to take the tests online.
According to Gulf County Tax Collector Shirley Jenkins, a 2015 mandate will require tax collection offices to handle permit issuing across the state.
“They’re closing offices all over the state,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins said that the change wasn’t a huge adjustment, since her office has handled issuing of permits since the driver’s license office closed in June of 2011.
“It’s a service to the citizens,” said Jenkins. “Now, they won’t have to go to Panama City.”
When the driver’s license office closed, anyone looking to obtain learner’s permits had to drive to Panama City to take the required tests.
The tax collector’s office recently received the equipment from the license office and any 15-year olds lining up for their learner’s permit can take the test from home or use a dedicated computer at the Tax Collector’s office.
For those who decide to learn the rules of the road from the comfort of home, the results will be available in a database and successful test-takers will be able to visit the Jenkins’ office to pick up their ID cards.
Prior to taking the DMV test, new drivers must pass the DATA course, which is the Drug, Alcohol, Traffic Awareness class, which can also be taken online.
The DMV test consists of 40 questions, 20 of which address road signs, and 20 that address road rules.
Testing will also be available for Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL), which is required in the United States to operate any type of vehicle for commercial use, transports hazardous materials or that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers.
A CDL is required for tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.
The permit test is a written exam that requires applicants to be at least 18 years of age for interstate driving, or 21 for out of state. Applicants must also have a valid driver’s license.
The written CDL exam covers vehicle inspection, communicating with other drivers, shifting gears and basic control of a commercial vehicle, controlling speed and managing space with other vehicles, hazards, rail road crossings, night driving, and accident procedures.
Jenkins said that when new drivers come in to pick up their ID cards, parents and guardians need to bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate, social security card and two proofs of physical address.