Ohio BMVs reopen Tuesday without driving test


SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — It might not be your favorite errand to run. But people lined up at Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles locations on Tuesday in heat and humidity after the state service had been closed for more than two months during the coronavirus pandemic.

We’re told more than 6,000 people were served by 10 a.m.

“We have a million people a month that come into our offices so you know there’s quite a backlog to work through,” said Charlie Norman, Registrar of Motor Vehicles for Ohio.

Leonard Patterson told us he waited in line for about 40 minutes in Shaker Heights.

“Just come prepared, and be patient, like anything else, everything is just opening back up.”

To help ease the congestion, many services can be taken care of online.

“If you need to do vehicle registration, for instance, or renewal you can do that on oplates.com/ Address changes, things like that,” Norman said.

If your driver’s license or registration expired on or after March 9, Norman said you have until 90 days after the state of emergency ends to get it renewed.

E-Check also reopened Tuesday. To prevent a rush, motorists have six months from the date their vehicle-renewal is due to get the test.

For those who do have to come into the BMV, several safety measures have been put in place, including plexiglass barriers and social distancing in the lobbies.

Third-party service, “Get in Line-Online” helps people queue up from home and check in with an on-site kiosk.

That system was down for several hours Tuesday just from just the sheer amount of people who logged on, Norman said.

“Right away at 8 a.m. there was a massive rush of folks who wanted to get in line,” he said.

Another hiccup on reopening day was at the BMV on Chagrin in Shaker Heights when officials told people in line that the photo machine was down briefly.

While the BMV reopened for several services, including knowledge tests, they weren’t quite ready to resume skills tests.

“It’s just a very difficult problem as you can imagine for a driver examiner to have to get into maybe 25 strange cars throughout the day,” Norman said.

He said they hoped to make an announcement on when those would resume later on Tuesday.

One 16-year-old we spoke to is anxious to earn the privilege and join his friends.

“Sometimes they don’t have enough room in their car, so then I’m stuck at home and I don’t have anywhere to go and they can all drive. And I have my car and everything. I already paid it all off.”

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