Months long wait for driver’s test is unacceptable

Understaffed, inefficient testing stations unfair to students


Hayley Westwood

Photo Illustration

Kate Schneider

Due to understaffed testing centers and a busy summer, those looking to get their first driver’s license face a wait of at least two months, according to sophomore Jonah Smith. This long wait is unfair to students who need a license in order to get to school, sports practices, and other mandatory events. Something must be done by the Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division to solve this backup.

At some test centers, the wait is more than just a couple months. For example, according to StarTribune, there is a six month wait to take the driver’s test at the Eagan testing center. This is unacceptable as it is required to have a permit for at least six months before taking the test. If teenagers have just gotten their permit they shouldn’t already have to worry about setting up their driving test.

People wanting to take a driver’s test have been forced to travel to rural Minnesota cities, such as Stillwater and Andover, because those are the only places with open spots, according to Department of Public Safety’s DVS division. Many teenagers need their parents to take them to their tests and most working parents don’t have time in their day to drive somewhere over an hour away. There are examination stations all around the state so students can take their test close to home. Because of this setup, there is absolutely no reason for students to be wasting hours of both their parents and their own day just to take a test that should be available locally.

Testing centers in the metro need to hire more examiners so people do not have to travel to outstate Minnesota if they want to take their test without the months-long wait they face at metro locations, such as Plymouth. The DVS knows how many people come to locations such as Plymouth to take their test, so they should be prepared and have enough examiners to handle the high number of testers.

The Department of Public Safety publicly acknowledges that fall is the busiest time of year for testing stations because many teenagers are attempting to get their first license. They should know better than to force stations and new drivers to deal with backup due to understaffed and underprepared conditions. This is their job and they should know how to prepare every examination station ahead of time to stop this atrocious backup before it even started.

According to Park driver’s education instructor William Wodarski, it is recommended that students check the website on a daily basis to have the best chance of getting an appointment. But this is beyond unreasonable as many students lead busy lives both in and out of school. Some students spend the majority of their time outside of school working to provide for their families and many others have sports and other extracurricular activities. There is no way for these students to be checking the website as frequently as recommended, so the system unfairly discriminates against certain students.

The understaffing and inefficiency of testing stations in the metro area and the rest of the state is unacceptable and is something that new drivers should not have to worry about as it is completely beyond their control. This horrific backup is a failure by the DVS and explains why so many people these days hate the government because they are never able to get anything done in a timely and efficient manner, not even something as simple as hiring an adequate amount of examiners for driving tests. The DVS needs to fix this mistake immediately and make sure they can be prepared with enough staffers to prevent a backup of the same magnitude as the current one from ever occurring again.