Experience at the DMV

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The wait at the DMV is never something to look forward to. According to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission, “In most cases, you can renew your license online, even if your renewal form says you are required to visit an agency in person.”

By: Lauren Dugan, Reporter

The DMV is a dreadful place to go under normal circumstances. But now, since Covid-19, it has made this process an even slower and dragged-out experience. 

The Wait

Waiting at the DMV is something that nobody looks forward to. Considering we are going through a global pandemic, the waits have been longer and more chaotic. In the past year, people have waited hours upon hours outside of the DMV to get their license. People I know have waited over four hours outside of the DMV just to be told to come back the next day because they were closing. The driving test itself is less than ten minutes, which frustrates many who want to just get it over with. This whole process can get aggravating, especially when most are already anxious to get their license and take the test. 

In August, Mr. Russell Allen III was due to renew his license at the New Jersey DMV. He arrived with his lawn chair in hand at 5am at the Edison DMV and waited in line with hundreds of people for the office to open at 8am. He received a ticket to be let in based on his placement in line but once all enterance tickets had been given out, people were turned away and told to come back another day. By 9am the Edison DMV on Kilmer Ave had reached its limit of people for that day.

Since August of 2020, Govenor Murphy has signed bills to reduce the lines at the DMV. You can now renew your driver’s license online. To do so you will need a valid “Drivers License Number, a valid Social Security Number, access to a printer (needed if you want to print an interim license and/or a receipt, a valid email address and a valid credit card.

According to the NJMVC website, they are still “expereincing unprecedented volume so check or call ahead of time if you really need to go there. Many DMV’s also have closed due to Covid exposure so check the list to see if they are open before going.

If you are looking to get a Real Id, the appointments are very limited and must be scheduled online. Real Id’s are not required until May 3, 2023.

Customer Service

Before getting my license, I heard through other people that the customer service at the DMV was horrible and the workers are rude. I can understand why people may think that, especially if they had been waiting in line for hours and couldn’t even make it to the front. However, luckily, my experience was much different. When my sister and I passed our tests, the people inside were very nice and helpful. The experience itself is pretty frustrating, especially with Covid-19 but they were very understanding. 

New rules and regulations

Because of Covid-19, new drivers usually cannot receive their license on the day of their driver’s test. Instead, the DMV gives you a paper license that is valid for 60 days. You will take your picture on the day of the test and receive your real license in the mail within about two to three weeks. 

This is just another example of a once-in-a-lifetime experience that was changed by the pandemic. Everyone is hoping to get back to some kind of normalcy so we can experience major events like this in our lives. I am grateful that they allowed for a paper license to be accepted though. Having to wait weeks after passing your driver’s test would be annoying as well. 

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