PORTLAND, Ore. — Long lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles are nothing new, but the coronavirus pandemic has made the wait even worse. The Oregon DMV estimates a backlog of more than 100,000 people waiting for a new license, renewal, replacement or endorsement.
“It’s an unprecedented situation,” said David House, spokesperson for the Oregon.
DMV field offices across the state have been closed since March. It is not clear when they will re-open.
“I would expect busy times at DMV for the foreseeable future and not just this year, but into next year and maybe even longer than that,” said House.
Police are offering a grace period for expired vehicle tags or licenses, as long as the state is under a public health emergency.
Thousands of first-time drivers will have to wait to get their driver’s license. In Oregon, 16-year old’s must pass a road exam issued by the DMV or a certified instructor to receive a license.
“This is a challenge because the six-foot rule is really hard to follow inside a car,” said House. “This is a real problem- not just for DMV but for any kind of provider of any kind of drive test.”
Other states, including Wisconsin and Georgia, are waiving requirements for 16 and 17-year old drivers to pass a road test.
So far- that’s not an option available to first-time driver’s in Oregon, explained House.
In the meantime- the DMV is asking customers to go online. Some services can be done remotely or by mail.
“It’s a huge backlog,” said House. “It’s going to take us a while to catch up.”
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