ST. PAUL – A recent report from the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor confirms what many parents of new drivers have wondered: Minnesota has struggled to meet the legal requirement that individuals be allowed to take a road test within 14 days of requesting one.
“I have heard from constituents throughout southwestern Minnesota who are struggling to find available times for their son or daughter to take a road exam,” Schomacker said. “It’s clear the problem isn’t going away and that the legislature needs to take even further action.”
The report noted that to address COVID-19 safety concerns, DVS consolidated from 93 to 15 exam stations in May 2020. While this saved staff travel time and increased the daily number of road tests, the lack of DVS exam stations no longer fully satisfied a legal requirement to make Class D exams available either in, or adjacent to, each Minnesota county, nor did it consistently satisfy a requirement in law that establishes a maximum wait time of 14 days for Class D road tests.
The report also noted DVS has experienced persistent staff shortages at exam stations and has struggled to fill key exam–station positions in a timely manner, has relied on extensive staff overtime to help reduce the 2020 backlog, which is not sustainable long term, and lacks a systematic approach to forecasting demand for Class D road tests.
Schomacker said the report also found DVS has streamlined some of its systems, but the road test availability problems need to be addressed.
“We are hearing from parents who are driving hours from home just so their teenager can take a road test,” Schomacker said. “Nearly 20 other states allow third-party driver test options, and this could be an option that alleviates some of these problems. Regardless, parents should not have to wait for weeks or travel across the state in order for their son or daughter to attempt to become a licensed Minnesota driver.”