Some parents in Madison have lately been driving their sons and daughters to places like Mauston and Appleton for their Division of Motor Vehicles road test. That's because, while the road-test appointments are backlogged statewide, the wait at some of these far-off locations is less.
"It's been a very challenging year," says Gary Guenther, director of the Bureau of Field Services for the state DMV. Although the number of road tests has stayed the same - about 130,000 annually - the backlog has increased. Guenther cites two factors: an increase in adult applicants, who often do not pass on first attempt, and a "pretty steady turnover rate" at the DMW in recent months.
Steps are now being taken to reduce the backlog, including adding some early morning and Saturday slots. "I believe we're digging out of this," says Guenther. "Our goal is that 80% of drivers can get a road test in four weeks or less."
Currently, there's about an eight-week wait for road tests in Madison. But those seeking appointments can use the DMV's online road-test system (at www.dot.wisconsin.gov) to find open slots, either from cancellations or by traveling to other, more distant centers. "Obviously," says Guenther, "it's better if they don't have to drive."