comscore Kokua Line: Oahu readers want more information about pandemic-era rules for road tests | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Oahu readers want more information about pandemic-era rules for road tests

Question: Regarding the windows being open during the driving test (, could you list the other COVID-19 requirements? My daughter might want to reschedule until after things go back to normal, whenever that might be. She has a permit now and we never drive with the windows down; we always have the AC on. There’s nothing wrong with our car, it’s more about making sure she is comfortable and passes the test.

Answer: We’ll briefly summarize rules for road tests in Honolulu County, highlighting pandemic-era modifications, but also emphasize that your daughter and other applicants should familiarize themselves with all requirements and be prepared before heading out to the testing location. You can find the full information by going to the Department of Customer Services website,, and clicking on the “Driver License” icon, which will take you to useful links, including about road tests.

As usual, an instructional permittee (IP) arriving for a road test to obtain a full driver’s license must possess a valid instructional permit, have an appointment for the road test and be accompanied by a driver who possesses a valid driver’s license and is over 21. The permittee and accompanying driver must wear face masks covering their faces and noses.

The IP must pass a no-contact temperature test. If the thermometer indicates the permittee’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, the road test will not proceed that day; it will be rescheduled.

The permittee also must pass a health-screening questionnaire ( that asks about their health, recent travel and close contacts, and that of their immediate family. To pass, all answers must be “no.”

The permittee must have documents on hand showing the vehicle they will drive has valid registration, valid safety check and valid insurance.

The vehicle must pass a pre-trip inspection by the driver’s license examiner. This includes checking that:

>> The passenger compartment, seat and floor space are free of obstructions.

>> All turn signals and brake lamps should work properly.

>> Brake and turn signal lamp lens should not be cracked or broken.

>> Both front and rear license plates should be securely mounted.

>> Vehicle’s horn is audible and in good working condition.

>> All lug nuts are in place and the tire tread depths are at least 2/32 of an inch.

>> Vehicle is free of any obnoxious odors and/or parasites and insects.

>> Vehicle instrument panel gauges and warning indicators do not indicate low fuel, excessive engine temperature, low oil pressure, charge battery, etc.

>> Driver and passenger seat belts are clean and in good working condition.

>> Door handles, windows and door locks are in good working condition.

>> Windshield is not cracked or chipped.

If the vehicle fails, the road test won’t proceed.

Once cleared to hit the road, the permittee must keep their face mask on at all times. “During the road test, the car’s air conditioner will be turned off and all windows of the vehicle will be rolled down. If the IP does not agree with these requirements, the road test will be rescheduled. If, during the road test, it begins to rain, the instructional permittee will follow the instructions of the driver’s license examiner, as to whether or not the road test will have to be canceled,” according to the instructions posted by Honolulu County at

Pandemic-specific rules have been in effect since July, according to the website. There’s no indication when they will be lifted.

Responding to Wednesday’s column, Frank Young of K & Y Auto Service in Kakaako said we should emphasize that the vehicle check before a road test is not a Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection, commonly known as a safety check or safety inspection, which results in an approved vehicle being issued an inspection certificate and decal.

We thought that was clear from the fact that Wednesday’s reader was surprised that her vehicle was rejected for a road test even though it had a valid safety check (PMVI). But Young, whose company conducts PMVIs, said he heard from two customers wondering whether they’d have to fix their cars’ rear windows to pass the PMVI; they won’t, he said.

“The rules and regs for a PMVI require that the driver front window must go down and the intent is that the driver can make hand signals,” he said in an email, adding that he didn’t want fully licensed drivers dinged for repairs not required for their purposes.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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