North Texans Crowd DPS Offices For Road Tests

CARROLLTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite the extreme heat, parents and teenagers across North Texas have been lining up outside of the various offices of the Department of Public Safety. The eager teens have all completed their written test required to get a first-time driver’s license. But they are now learning that the hardest part about taking the road test is just walking through the door.

Some of the teenagers have been turned away by DPS officials several times because no employees are available to administer the road tests to first-time drivers. DPS officials are citing budget constraints, a hiring freeze and population growth for the lack of employees.

At one office in Carrollton, hopeful drivers have been camping out overnights to take part in this teenage rite of passage. The office works on a first-come, first-served basis, and is only able to administer about 40 road tests each day. There were already about 47 teens wrapped around the building two hours before the office opened on Friday morning.

More than 100 people were in line at the Carrollton office when the doors finally opened, and more than half of them were turned away.

“I can’t believe it,” said one Carrollton mom, “I had to set my alarm for 2 o’clock, because it’s her birthday, and try to get out here just so that she can get her driver’s license. From what I can tell, there’s a lot of people that have been here more than twice.”

“This is my sixth time at a DPS office,” said driver’s license applicant Sydney Pontheiu. “I’ve got to leave for school in the fall. I’m going to college. I don’t have a license. I just got a car. I’ve got to get it done.”

The parents waiting in line with their teens, many of whom have seen their children upset by this ordeal several times now, believe that there must be a better way of handling this procedure. “First of all, there’s no procedures on the door. That would be really nice, for the public to know exactly what the process is,” said mother Rosie Mendoza. “If you come, you have to come at 3:00 a.m. to make it through the door.”

“At a certain point, all of those people are going to start losing focus,” said parent Patrick Costa. “One of the things on the test is you don’t drive when you’re tired. All of these people are going to be driving when they’re tired.”

“To me, it doesn’t matter,” said 16-year-old driver’s license applicant Mustafa Qidwai, who was first in line at the Carrollton office on Friday after arriving at midnight. “But I understand how it could affect other people, like, they don’t really want to stay out late. But, to me, it doesn’t matter.”

Qidwai was confident that he would walk away with a driver’s license on Friday morning, but he was disappointed to learn that it was a two-step process. He paid an $11 fee on Friday and would have to return another day to actually take the road test. “I think it’s outrageous. I thought they should have said it on the website or something, that it’s a two-step process,” the teen said. “I guess not. I guess I wasted my time.”

There is hope for parents and teens who wish to avoid the long lines. Some DPS offices in areas outside of the immediate Metroplex are not seeing such high demand for first-time driving tests. Plus, the Texas Legislature has approved $63 million for the driver’s license bureau to expand into new facilities, but it will be months before any of the planned ‘super centers’ are opened. Until then, parents and teens will continue to wake up very early and wait in line.

“You do it because it’s your kids,” said mother Tanya Hart. “They want the same process as everyone else – they want to get their driver’s license.”

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  • Gumby Rules

    Just imagine getting there at 0300 hrs and waiting in-line for your 16-year-old daughter’s first and she fails it … or 7 times like my younger sister did…LOL

  • Lynn Cain

    It’s not just the road tests that are a problem. My 82 year old mother and I had to wait over 3 hours outside the Plano office just to renew her license. There must be a better way!

  • john

    Be thankful you are not waiting in line for food like in many other countries.
    Stop WHINING.

    • Wake Up

      That’s the point, John. We live in a country where we shouldn’t have to do that. Do you know why people wait in line for food in those other countries? Government inefficiency. That’s the same reason we’re waiting in line for a license in this country.

      • Immigrant

        John’s apathy, and the apathy from millions more like him, is the reason nothing gets done in this country.

  • RussP

    The last time I went to the Carrollton office just to renew, once the doors opened there were seperate lines for people needing to take a test, written or driving and for people just needing to do paper work such as a renewal. I was in and out in less than an hour. The last time I needed to take a road test, I went out to some small office about a half hour east of Dallas and didn’t wait at all.

  • Rick McDaniel

    Nothing new about that. Why is it making the news?

  • C Bauer

    It’s typical of government inefficiency on any level. My license is coming up for renewal and I went to the DPS office in Carrollton only to learn of a 3 hour wait, part of it being outside in a line in the 100+ degree heat. Then, on a later date, I went to Denton, where I waited inside for 2 hours before giving up and going home after my number group had only moved up three places. If private businesses ran at this level of inefficiency, they’d be out of business in less than 6 months.

    And we’re to trust these kinds of bureaucratic bozos with health care? No thanks.

  • michael thompson

    Where is an office outside of dallas that does not have a wait? I’ve called several different offices around the metroplex and many of them say that it will take 2 weeks to take your driving test after passing the written test.

  • RussP

    With just about everyone having access to a computer somewhere, even if it’s the local library, you think they could set up a reservation system where you sign up for a certain time slot. There is a fingerprint service called L1 that does this. They let three or four people sign up for a 15 minute slot and it’s first come, first served for that small group. Since each person only takes a few minutes, it seems to run smoothly with no long lines, long waits or crowded waiting areas.

  • j313

    When my daughters turned 16 in 2004 and 2006, no road test was required to get their licenses. They just had to show proof of completion of a driver’s ed class and had to have held a learner’s permit for 6 months. I didn’t realize this had changed. At the time, I didn’t think it was a very sensible policy, but it sure made the process less painful.

  • Joe

    Why is the news always one sided. How come the media doesn’t report on how bad the employees are treated by the customers on a daily basis. The employees of the DPS are only following policies and procedures set forth by those that you elect into office. You should really be mad at your Texas Legislature, and not taking out all your frustrations on the Driver License employees. Too many times, people come in and out of the offices threatening the employees, who have no control over any of the procedures. People should stop to think about that before you just start bashing the DPS and its thousands of employees. If you really want to complain, then you should complain about yourselves, you the public are the one that voted for those sitting in Austin making up these laws!!!

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