DMV license delay postpones work for some locals

DMV license delay postpones work for some locals
Posted at 4:21 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 16:21:54-04

It's a delay that could be costing local jobs.

Now the County Clerk's office is asking for changes at the state level to get more Western New Yorkers on the open road.

The wait time in Western New York for a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is about two to three months. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs says that is just too long.

Jacobs is calling on the state-run Department of Motor Vehicles to hire more commercial license examiners to shorten the wait times. 

Local business owners say this is a problem, because they want to employ workers right here in Western New York at crucial times, and to help those in the most need.

"This is our time of year, basically, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and without drivers out there, we can't deliver ice cream to our accounts," Brian Perry, Executive Vice President of Perry Ice Cream, said.

"There's at least a six week wait timeframe between the time that someone comes in who says, 'I want to work and have a job,' and the time we can actually use them and put them on the road," Paul Snyder of We Care Transport, said.

Clerk Jacobs is also asking the state to find an appropriate location in Erie County for CDL testing.

Business leaders and county officials alike say if the wait times for CDLs to drive vehicles like these does not shorten, it will turn into a vicious cycle of drivers spending time and money they do not have.

DMV spokesman Joe Morrissey issued the following statement in response to Jacobs:

"Mr. Jacobs' comments regarding the issue of delays in CDL road tests are not based in reality. In DMV's Buffalo district, which actually extends beyond Erie County, our lag at CDL road site tests is five weeks, which is actually within our standard of four to six weeks. The four to six week lag is by design of responsible effort to improve highway safety and provide drivers enough time to practice prior to their road tests. Further, Salamanca, which stands at a six week lag, is far below the eight to twelve weeks that have been wrongly alleged. We have been able to maintain these levels due to adequate staffing in Western New York. As we have expressed to Mr. Jacobs, we invite him to help us secure and utilize an additional CDL site at an Erie County-owned parking lot at Ralph Wilson Stadium."