Driving test scheduling struggles

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Typically parallel parking is the toughest part of the driving exam. Well, people are getting more time to practice because scheduling an exam has become just as tough.

Like most teenagers Sheryl Chaloners daughter couldn’t wait to get her drivers license. “She said mom I want to be able to take my driver’s test right away and get my license. So I literally counted days,” said Chaloners.

She scheduled the test six months in advance from her daughter’s 16th birthday. And says open appointments were almost impossible to come by. She’s one of many parents who’ve had problems.

“I went through Rochester and surrounding areas, nothing. And then I started at the beginning and went through every single city, town, driving station that was open in Minnesota,” said Julie Garcia.

Garcia had to drive four hours from home, all the way to Virginia, Minnesota to find an open spot for her son. “If we’re gonna have to retake the test I was really stressed we’d have to do that,” said Garcia.

The state claims staffing shortages are partially to blame. DVS Director Pong Xiong said, “the biggest challenge for us is that we are seeing a demand that we cannot keep up with. We have dedicated resources, limited resources to filling these positions.”

DVS says it’s 15 staff members short statewide at testing centers, but even a full staff wouldn’t be enough people.

“We are actually producing more exams than we were prepandemic. So, it’s less of an issue with efficiencies it’s more so that we are seeing demand that is more than the capacity that we have to support,” said Xiong.

The scheduling process has changed since Sheryl and Julie scheduled their kid’s tests. There’s no longer that six month window. You can now only schedule 30 days in advance.

“What we also see is that is for appointments that are made further than the 30 days out, our cancellation and our reschedule rates are really high and all that does is going to push people further and further out for their scheduling,” said Xiong.

He said that should make scheduling a little less difficult.

“I also have a fifteen year old and I have to do this again,” said Chaloners.