DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Teens anxious to get their license may have to wait longer than they’d like since coronavirus shutdowns continue to cause delays months after being lifted.

Pat Brown, driving school instructor at AAA, said driving instructions at his organization shut down for about month and half toward the start of the pandemic, creating a domino effect for students looking to take courses.

“We had students that we were in the process of working with that [were] put on hold, and then during that time there were a lot of students that wanted to start driving, so it really [created] a big backlog,” he said. “And when everybody started driving again, the backlog just continued. Most driving schools are backlogged anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks, if not further out than that.”

Brown said each month, the school typically has between 10 and 15 students finish driving courses, with even more signed up and waiting to complete classes. Sharon Fife, president of D&D Driving School, said with four locations throughout the Miami Valley, they turn out a few hundred students monthly, averaging 50 to 60 at each location. She said right now, students who initially signed up in July and August are just getting to complete their classes, and there are a number of reasons for the continued delays.

“During this process with COVID, we’ve had several instructors get sick, or if they get exposed, then they have to quarantine. So all that kind of pushes things back and makes things a little slower. I think of our instructors, we’ve had six or seven actually get COVID, and then they’re off for two weeks or a month, so it just kind of slows everything down,” said Fife.

Like AAA, D&D also catered to students who were already signed up when the school was able to reopen and students were once again able to take classes. Both driving schools also started offering online classes to allow students to get through a portion of the instruction with minimal contact. But Brown said a change in state requirements also altered the timing at which students could complete both the written and driving portions.

“The state requires 24 hours of classroom instruction and then eight hours of driving,” he said. “They recently, just in July, changed that the students have to have all 24 hours of the classes completed before we can drive with them. So we’ve adopted that state regulation, so that’s part of the slowing process, where before, they could start their driving while still doing the classes.”

Both Brown and Fife said the best way to avoid feeling the effects of the prolonged driving school wait is to sign up ahead of time. With students able to sign up for classes at 15 years and five months old and get their permit at 15 years and six months, Brown said it’s important to call around to find out which driving school has the best schedule and pricing for your child. He said its also important to exercise patience, as most schools are booked out significantly further than normal.

Lastly, Fife said after students have completed their classroom and driving portion of classes, and have gotten in 50 hours of practice with a parent, families should be prepared for the wait to continue ahead of getting a license at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

“There’s also a backlog at the exam station,” said Fife. “So I know last week they were already booking their driving tests into January, so that’s something else to know. I didn’t used to suggest students schedule their tests when they first got scheduled to drive [with a driving school] but now I have been just because there is a backlog there also.”

“I don’t see [the backlog] coming to a close by the end of the summer,” added Brown.