For many, getting a DMV road test is like winning the lottery

“It’s like trying to buy bread in Poland in the 1980s,” Jeff Mudge tells the Pioneer Press.

It’s funny he chose the analogy because several paragraphs into the weekend Pioneer Press’ story about how long it takes to get a driver’s license road test, I was thinking, “this sounds like the old Eastern Bloc days.”

Mudge, of Gem Lake, is one of the parents who’ve been getting up well before dawn — in some cases, 2 a.m. — to get to the testing station in time to snag one of the few appointments available. He and his kids drove to New Ulm and camped out to get a road test.

Minnesota has 93 testing stations but not enough employees to handle the number of people looking for a license. They’re teens who have turned down job offers because parents can’t haul them back and forth, and they’re college kids who are heading off to school in a few weeks.

“Last Friday, I had 53 cars in line,” Driver and Vehicle Services regional supervisor Mark Larson told the PiPress. “That was the highest we’ve had all summer. I tell them feel free to swing by again in the afternoon, but it all depends on how many appointments don’t show up. Yesterday, I only had two no-shows, so it took until 4 p.m. to get through the 15 people in the lot.”

A Department of Public Safety spokesman says while they’d like to make the situation go away, it’s up to the Legislature.