UNION COUNTY, NJ - The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commision reopened on July 7, allowing 17-year-olds from across the state to take their long awaited road tests. While the tests went smoothly, obtaining the physical license did not. 

Kids all over the state faced the same issue: stuck outside in the heat and sun waiting to see if they would even get inside the actual building. Lines were long enough that locations began to distribute numbered tickets in an attempt to avoid making teens and their parents wait outside for over nine hours, just to be turned away.

Since a large focus of a student’s junior year is turning 17 and getting a driver’s license, plenty of students felt the consequences when the MVC closed down during the quarantine shutdown. Many of those juniors had to wait till they were seniors to actually become licensed drivers.

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Senior Avery Koehn stressed not only the amount of time he waited in line, but also the amount of lines he waited in. He was switched around and stuck in several different rows of people, uncertain of whether he would be able to get his license, until he was finally sent inside the building after 4 hours. 

To add to a long wait, most in line returned home that afternoon licenseless and sunburned. To have a shot at entering the building, people were left with no choice but to wake up at three or four AM, or even earlier. 

However, as the summer progressed, people came to learn what it would take to get the coveted driver’s license. Senior Josh Vaidman, who was turned away on his first attempt, said, “I went on August 29 at 6:30 a.m. and I waited an hour and a half and just missed out on getting a ticket so I went home empty handed.”

Vaidman was able to get his license two days later at the Flemington office of the MVC.  “I got there at 5:30 instead, and was at the very beginning of the line, and was able to leave with my license by 9:30.”  

The beginning of July was uncharted territory, and while it took some time for a proper plan to take form, the DMV is now handling the overflow decently. Thanks to the adjustments, students now have the chance to make up for three months worth of being unable to drive.