EAST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The pandemic has caused a big backup at the DMV.
This week, some New York offices reopened, but for very limited services.READ MORE: Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Defends Taking Trip To Ghana Amid Growing Concerns About Omicron Variant
Teenagers waiting to get drivers licenses will have to wait longer.
Shuttered for months, DMV offices are beginning to open, but not for in-person services, or road tests for eager teens like Dylan Baranek. He was in the middle of drivers ed when it came to a screeching halth in March.
The course can only be completed online for students who were 75% through the class, leaving future drivers like him at a standstill.
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“I was heavily relying on getting my license for the summer so I could drive myself to work every day. Because both my parents work,” he said.
“He completed his boaters license test online and curriculum and they do hunter safety online. All classes, all K through 12 and college is online. Why not the classroom portion of drivers ed?” said his mother Stephanie Baranek.
Behind-the-wheel instruction is also in limbo.
“Basically, we are in a holding pattern until we get into Phase Three, or even longer,” said Tim Barrett, owner of Arrow Auto School.
Barrett says junior drivers also need 24 hours in the car with a driver’s education program, and that’s stalled for months.READ MORE: Federal Disaster Assistance Deadline Approaching For New Jersey Residents Who Suffered Property Damage From Ida
“I am so concerned because we don’t know what’s gonna happen, and these people do need their licenses,” he said. “It’s a life skill… it’s the safety of our streets.”
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By age 18, there is no requirement for behind-the-wheel instruction, so many will just wait and never get the benefit of training.
Dylan is petitioning the state to at least allow at least the lectures to be finished online. Supporters say it’s essential.
“There are so many parents that maybe this is the oldest child. We are all trying to get back to work,” said mother Liz Heller. “There is an older child in the house who can drive, they are not stranded at home. It makes mom and dad feel better.”
The New York state DMV will restart road tests on Long Island in Phase Three, but cancelled tests will be prioritized first.
“It’s very upsetting and frustrating and I was really looking forward to it,” Dylan said.
Another roadblock for teens trying to navigate their way back to normal.MORE NEWS: Emergency Crews Rescue Man From Water Off Coney Island
A spokeswoman for the DMV says it’s aware of the petition and is working with the New York state education department to finalized details of allowing the driver’s ed classroom to be completed online.