DMV TestBuddy

Driver Education 1

DMV is conducting a study of how technology can help improve the driver’s license testing process, and is seeking volunteers to download the DMV TestBuddy application to participate. If you have a driver’s license permit or plan to take a drive test soon, we need your help with this important study.

How It Works

DMV TestBuddy collects data as you drive, providing objective insights on driver behavior while on specific roads and during various driving conditions. This data will not be used to evaluate you individually as a driver or impact your attempt to get a driver’s license. The data collected will be used for research purposes only, will be considered with other drivers’ data collected, and is not intended to be shared. If you join our study and later decide you no longer want to participate, you can easily opt out and remove your information from the study.

How to Get Involved

Who Can Volunteer

  • Permit holders and recently licensed drivers
  • All noncommercial drivers
  • Volunteers must submit a consent form before participating

Using the App

  • Download the DMV TestBuddy (iOS or Android) app
  • Turn on the DMV TestBuddy app and drive as usual – there is no need to notify DMV of participation
  • Data is confidential and only viewed by DMV researchers
  • You may opt out anytime

“We hope people will volunteer to help us accelerate innovation and improve the DMV customer experience,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “We continue to use technology and streamline our processes to modernize the DMV.”


What is DMV TestBuddy?

A mobile app that can be downloaded to a smartphone.

What is it for and how does it claim to achieve this?

The app is a distraction-free method of collecting driving data only for the study you are participating in. The app will collect location and driving activity such as speed/acceleration, braking/stopping, and turning/swerving.

Why DMV TestBuddy and not the comparable app I already have installed on my phone?

The DMV TestBuddy app builds on proprietary technology that is calibrated in cooperation with the DMV to monitor accurately the underlying data without misrepresenting your driving. DMV TestBuddy is a safe place for data to be collected and made available to the study without the worry of the data being shared with other entities outside DMV.

Can other apps be used for this purpose?

No. The DMV TestBuddy app allows you to participate in the study in a single, secure place.

How much does it cost? Is it free?

There is no cost to you as a participant.

How does the technology work?

Participants opt in by accepting the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Agreement. After participants download the app, the app runs on its own and collects driving activities while operating the vehicle to measure driving characteristic for this study.

Can I opt out after opting in?

Yes, participation can be cancelled at any time and the participant can request to have their data removed from the app and study. Participation results will have no impact on your drive test or obtaining a driver’s license.

Does the app use Global Positioning System (GPS)?


What is DMV’s legal authority to use the technology?

Voluntary participation does not require specific authority.

What kind of data does the app collect?

The participant provides first and last name, permit or driver’s license number, and their email address. All personal information collected is to be used for purposes of the study and is subject to the limitations in the Information Practices Act and state policy. Driving activity captured will include location, speed/acceleration, braking/stopping, and turning/swerving.

Will it be collecting video or audio?

No, audio and video are not collected. The app does not request audio or video permissions from the participant.

How does DMV plan to use the data collected?

DMV will conduct a comparison study to assist with exploring alternative options to scheduling and successfully passing a driving test with the DMV for a noncommercial instruction permit holder and the safety impact of allowing the driving test requirement to be fulfilled through alternative methods.

Who will have access to the data collected, and how will it be secured?

DMV has worked with the app developer to specify what data is necessary to collect, which will be accessible by individuals authorized by DMV only. Data will not be shared with insurance companies, law enforcement, or participants’ parent/legal guardian. DMV’s Information Security and Disclosure Statement

What steps will be taken to ensure the data is secure from other persons?

DMV has partnered with the app developer to follow standards and best practices for secure data collection.

What steps will be taken to ensure those with access to data do not share or use for purposes other than their intended purpose of driver evaluation?

DMV is following the same guidelines and regulations that protect other personal data collected by DMV.

What steps will be taken to ensure the data is destroyed after used for intended purpose?

All data will be destroyed according to DMV data retention policies based on the data type.

Is the data collected by the app going to be linked to my name or other phone data?

Yes, to your name only, no other phone data is linked. The information collected through the app during the study will be used by DMV researchers and not be considered to determine your qualification for a driver’s license.

Do I have to use the DMV TestBuddy app to be licensed?

No, participation is voluntary. The app will collect data related to driving behavior to be used in the DMV study and plays no role in obtaining a driver’s license.

What if I can’t afford a smartphone or don’t want one?

While participating is voluntary, the DMV TestBuddy app is required to participate. Those without a smartphone will not be able to participate.

What if I have a smartphone but don’t want to install the app?

Participation in the study is voluntary. The DMV TestBuddy app is required to participate, those without a smartphone will not be able to participate.

Will declining to use the app create additional barriers to licensure?

No. The app will collect data related to driving behavior of those who choose to participate, for study purposes only and plays no role in obtaining a driver’s license.

Is there any way that using the app can create additional barriers to licensure?

No. Data collected will be used by DMV for the purposes of the comparison study only.

What if I score poorly?

There is no consequence if the participant’s data reflects poor driving behavior. DMV may explore additional features to provide feedback on driver behavior through the app.

How will the collected data be used to evaluate my driving?

Data collected will be compared to other participants’ driving in the same area or road type/condition.

What about high-level driving skills that cannot be assessed by the app such as proper lane selection, giving space to cyclists, observing right-of-way, maintaining safe following distance and speed of surrounding traffic, etc.?

Only driving activity that can be collected by the app will be used for the comparison study and the type of data collected will be the same for all participants.

Can the data collected be used to delay or deny my driver’s license? (For example, what if I score very poorly?)

No. The data is collected for the comparison study and will not play a role in determining eligibility to be licensed.

Is the data collected by the app going to be linked to my driver’s record?


Could I incur citations or fines as a result of driving behavior when using the app, even if I was never pulled over by an officer?