Drivers Will Have To Wait: DMV Closures Creating Backlogs

The DMV has been closed since mid-March, but that hasn’t stopped a steady stream of people from showing up at its offices trying to get services.

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Drivers across Connecticut are frustrated that they’ve been unable to get their drivers license, learners permit or register a car because the Department of Motor Vehicles offices are mostly closed. 

“We showed up on the day and the sign said DMV is closed and it was incredibly frustrating,” Michael Farbman says. 

Farbman of Woodbridge said his 16-year-old son was anxiously awaiting the day when he would be able to get his learners permit and actually get behind the wheel. He’s not alone. A number of parents have expressed their frustration with the delays. The exams for learners permits are only given by appointment in Cheshire and Wethersfield at the moment.  

“For new drivers there’s a knowledge test that they have to go online, make and appointment and come in, Cheshire or Wethersfield and we’re opening up another four branches next week, just for knowledge testing for appointment only,” DMV Deputy Commissioner Antonio Guerrera said.

Road tests are beginning next week along with licensing at certain branches. 

The DMV has been closed since mid-March, but that hasn’t stopped a steady stream of people from showing up at its offices. 

“Right now they’re shunning people away. They’re saying go online, go online but when you go online there’s roadmap to where you have to go,” Karen Moore of New Haven said. 

Robert Ffrench showed up to register a vehicle and get a permit — only to be told to go online.

“When you go online you get that little COVID message and it says click here for more and every time you click on it you don’t get more it just brings you back up to the top COVID message. So you’re in a giant loop over and over,” Ffrench said. 

Although the DMV extended the deadlines for license and registration renewals and emissions tests, remote processing is taking up to four weeks.  

“We’re looking at about four weeks backlog for registrations right now and again we try to let people know again they can register their vehicles online but if it’s a new car they’re going to have to mail it in or use our dropbox,” Guerrera said.

It’s still unclear when the DMV will fully reopen to the public.  

“Hopefully by the beginning of August within the next few weeks we’ll have our plan in place in regards to how we’re going to open up our DMV offices,” Guerrera saaid. 

Guerrera said when the DMV reopens the public will see plexiglass and markings on the floor to make sure everyone maintains social distance.

“Not every branch will be open to the public. No one can just walk into the DMV from the public. It’s going to be an appointment system and you go online to make that appointment,” Guerrera said.

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