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This story was updated Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at 7:55 p.m. with more information.

Teenagers in Georgia who were given their drivers licenses without having to take a road test will now be required to take the test by Sept. 30.

Gov. Brian Kemp, in a reversal from a previous executive order, issued an order Tuesday that requires the more than 20,000 teenagers who received their license since the state of emergency was issued in Georgia to still take the road test.

Teenagers who received their license are still legally allowed to drive until the Sept. 30. They now have to take a road test to maintain their driver's license. Any person trying to get a license will have to take a road test starting Tuesday.

Kemp's latest order reads the road tests were only "temporarily suspended."

The Georgia Department of Drivers Services will start giving tests on site or remotely.

Earlier this month, the department said nearly 19,500 people had received their license without taking a road test because of restrictions to public interaction resulting from the coronavirus global pandemic.

Sarah Casto is a driving instructor at 1st Stop Georgia Driving Academy. She started an online petition that received nearly 2,600 signatures, urging Kemp to roll back the executive order.

Casto was also in contact with Kemp's office and was told the original policy was drawn up by the Department of Drivers Services. She kept pressure on Kemp and his team about the policy and feels vindicated with the new executive order.

"It's definitely a reason for a celebration," Casto said. "All the people that signed our petition and helped spread the word are rejoiced over it."

Casto is especially pleased that the teenagers who already got their license will still have to take the road test. She believes her petition helped keep pressure on the governor.

"I do think so. It got everyone's attention," she said. "Instead of people just talking about it on Twitter, the outrage got people in the governor's office talking about it. We're definitely happy. I don't think they would have had those conversations if not for what we did."

For more information on Kemp's new executive order, visit dds.georgia.gov.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

 

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