A month after the chaotic reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown, the Motor Vehicle Commission is still dealing with larger crowds than normal but significant progress has been made, officials say.

According to MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton, the road test backlog, comprising mostly teens looking to get their first driver’s license, has been completely cleared.

“We’ve been able to work through three and a half months of backlog in relative lightening speed," she said. "At this point we have more appointments open than filled this week.”

She said the MVC is doing about 11,000 transactions a day at agency offices, and over the past month a total of 483,000 transactions were processed.

“We’ve also pushed a huge number of transactions online,” said Fulton.

Lines are still long outside of MVC agency offices but Fulton said customers are getting service on the days they arrive.

“There’s no reason for anyone to wait overnight at any Motor Vehicle center," she said.

She said one reason there are still lines is because more than a hundred customers used to be allowed to wait inside an agency office but that is no longer permitted with social distancing rules.

Fulton said even after someone has been given a time-stamped ticket and they’re told they will get a text message 20 minutes before they will be served, “many customers are insisting on standing outside the agency waiting for their text message. We’re trying to encourage people that once you’ve checked in you don’t need to stand in line.”

She said people are free to get coffee or wait in their car.

“We’re trying to manage the human nature,” she said. “You know people who are anxious to get a transaction and they’re just afraid to leave the premises.”

Enter your number to get the New Jersey 101.5 app

Fulton said in the first two weeks of the reopening, several agency offices were closed for deep cleaning if an MVC employee or a customer reported feeling sick.

She said after reviewing what was happening, it was determined that “in some instances" employees may have been "over-reacting to situations that had nothing to do with COVID-19.”

The MVC continues daily flu-virus cleaning of all touched surfaces and barriers.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com