UniteGPS – Here’s a new factor to consider when approaching the national driver shortage: DMV driving test backlogs. This past month, a reporter from WRAL Investigates published an intriguing story in which a central North Carolina community with over 400 driver job vacancies went directly to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for answers.
“I think it’s more of an issue than it’s ever been before,” said Chris Blice from North Carolina’s Chatham County Schools in the WRAL Investigates article. While his district shares a trainer from Orange County, Blice contends that more available trainers in every county could help solve the DMV driver backlogs.
With Blice waiting for 10 drivers to take the “behind the wheel” training at the nearest center, it’s safe to say that the longer drivers must wait for the DMV to get around to them, the longer school districts must wait to put qualified drivers out on the road to cover routes. Pandemic-related closures beginning in 2020 have only complicated matters.
DMV driving test backlogs
Across the country, the DMV plays a central role in certifying motorists for the road training portion of the commercial driver’s license (CDL) exam. On top of new CDL requirements deterring would-be bus drivers from applying, now the amount of time it’s taking for applicants to access DMV services has become another factor complicating today’s hiring woes. sometimes taking up to two months as of recently.
Even prior to the federal CDL training guidelines that came into effect this past February, it was a relatively long process for school districts to onboard bus drivers. According to a press release released in August 2021 by prominent transportation organizations, the average hiring time for a school bus driver to receive their credentials is 16 days but can often take up to 22 days in communities out west.
Another component of this issue is the number of responsibilities DMV testers must constantly multitask. The same individuals overseeing the road test also have to train other instructors while performing vision exams and leading safety training for state agencies. Reducing what overworked trainers have to do on a daily basis could ultimately be part of the solution.