The days of drivers fretting about failing their driving skills test for being unable to parallel park are no more.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles eliminated the parallel parking portion of the driving skills test effective Jan. 13, after determining it was an unnecessary part of the test, according to DMV spokesman Kevin Malone.
“Testing of the parking skills needed is met by the requirements of entering, and backing out of, a perpendicular parking space and by other vehicle control requirements,” Malone said.
The skills test in Nevada meets the national standards set by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators even without parallel parking featured in it.
“We believe this change makes our drive tests safer and we are still able to maintain the integrity of our mission, putting safe drivers on the road,” Malone said.
Advances in technology, such as backup cameras, parking assistance and sensors had no bearing on the decision, Malone said.
“In fact, drivers are told to not rely on any assistive technology during the test, not even the backup camera,” he said.
Aside from deeming parallel parking unnecessary, the change also eliminates the need for repeat visits by drivers who test well on everything but parallel parking.
Nevada joins a number of other states, including California, Colorado and Florida, that have nixed parallel parking from their driving skills exams.
Kathy Kelly, co-owner of Safeway Driving School, has been in the business with her husband, Clemos Kelly, for 30 years. She said they were surprised to see the change in driving test requirements.
Kelly said they were alerted to the change Jan. 12 via an email from the DMV, the day before the requirement was lifted from the skills test.
Since it is not a required part of the test, Safeway no longer teaches parallel parking, unless a student requests it. Before the change, the school was firm on teaching the skill to all students.
“Sometimes we give them a quick review, in case they need it,” Kelly said. “But we don’t stress the parallel parking anymore.”
Kelly also said no one is complaining when they are told they don’t need to learn the skill for the test, as most students are thrilled when they learn the news.
“They’re very happy,” Kelly said.
Although it is not required, Kelly said, learning parallel parking is an important skill for any driver to learn, as it teaches motorists how to better maneuver a vehicle.
An impromptu Twitter survey conducted by the Review-Journal found a majority believe parallel parking should be part of the driver’s test. Of 440 people responding to the survey, 64 percent said it should be on the exam.
Kelly also said she doesn’t see recent changes by the DMV in both the written and road tests as a positive step forward.
“Taking the (written test) questions from 50 to 25 and now taking out parallel parking, I’m not sure this is a good thing,” she said. “I personally think you’re going to see the accidents get even higher now.”