St. Paul, MN – Today the Minnesota House Transportation Finance Committee received a presentation from the Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division of an updated plan to address CDL and Class D road test backlogs, how their work has been impacted by COVID-19 related closures, and what measures they’ve implemented since they’ve reopened in a limited capacity. Representatives from DPS testified that health and safety of Minnesotans continue to be at the forefront of their procedures, while also focusing on increasing efficiency. The two main contributing factors to these inefficiencies are high fail rates and no shows.
DVS estimates the backlog could be resolved by the end of October, with a few potential measures that would require legislative approval. DVS has taken a number of steps to address the problem by reopening 14 exam stations under a consolidated serve plan that has allowed them to conduct 707 tests daily, compared to 550 at the same time last year. They have also ended Class D road exam standing appointments for driving schools as of January 2020, expanded hours to allow for weekend appointments, and eliminated the equipment check at beginning of each road test to save time.
“We are encouraged by progress in addressing the backlog in the driver’s exams, but more work needs to be done,” said Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), chair of the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee. “Today’s hearing helped clarify and inform bipartisan ideas to address this important concern.”
DVS acknowledged that the consolidated plan, though efficient, has some challenges for the more remote regions of the state and promised to continue working alongside the Legislature, staff, and stakeholders to continue to engage in ways to improve the process moving forward. To help continue making progress in eliminating the backlog, DVS has asked the Legislature to consider three potential changes: instituting a no-show fee for road test appointments, transferring available funds to allow them to implement limited online knowledge testing, and authorizing third party CDL testing.
Written testimony and supporting materials from today’s hearing can be found on the committee website.