LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Waiting in line is never fun, but try doing it for hours, during a pandemic, outside in the winter cold.


A Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) location in Las Vegas on June 23, 2020.

The lines are so long for the Saturday walk-in hours at DMVs across Clark County, that each Friday, some people set up camp outside the building just to be seen. The problem with making an appointment? They aren't available until at least three months away.

The Saturday walk-in hours are designed specifically for services that cannot be done online, like a private party vehicle sale, new Nevada IDs or licenses, or written tests. Click here for more information on that.

"The long-term solution here is to push more and more services online, and that's what the DMV is gonna be doing in the coming months and years," said Kevin Malone, spokesman for Nevada's DMV.

He said one reason for the lines is the overwhelming demand, and backlog, due to the pandemic.

"The COVID pandemic really impacted the DMV. Like most businesses, we were closed for three months, and we're having trouble getting caught up honestly," said Malone.

We asked Malone if there are any pop-up events that they can host that can be just for this specific population.

"We're considering those kind of things, we're considering pop-up events, or handing out tickets like we do on Saturdays, we're considering all the options but we're operating under a limited staff," said Malone. "We can't just go out and open a new building, we don't have the funding or the staff for it, so we have to work within what we've got."

He said the DMVs are operating at 50% capacity due to the pandemic, but he said this is not contributing to the problem. Rather, he emphasized that the DMV is understaffed and underfunded.

"There has been a hiring freeze in place," added Malone. "And luckily we're able to hire now, but part of the COVID pandemic was the revenues coming up short."

He says half the number of Nevadans with appointments are not showing up for them. He says this is causing a disruption in workflow. He said he thinks the technicians likely give no-shows about ten minutes, as a grace period.

Will police ticket you for things you are unable to renew through the DMV in person? We asked Malone.

"We work with the Nevada Conference of Sheriffs and Police, and other law enforcement organizations, and asked them to cut motorists a little bit of slack. Law enforcement is well aware of the problems we're having," said Malone.

Several police departments confirmed this to be true. They also added that traffic stop citations are judged on a case-by-case basis, and that for minor offenses like newly expired tags, it is the intent of the driver that matters.

Officer Aiden Ocampo-Gomez, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said, "We don't want to punish drivers for what the DMV is doing ... From talking to some of our patrol guys ... if they have an appointment, we're not citing them."

Officer Alan Olvera with the Henderson Police Department said, "We do acknowledge that making an appointment to the DMV may be an extended period of time out... Henderson Police Officers are afforded the ability to use discretion (whether or not a person is issued a citation) on traffic stops on a case by case basis."

Nevada Highway Patrol echoed that sentiment. Trooper Travis Smaka said, "Our troopers are aware of the current challenges and are sympathetic to motorists trying to get their vehicles registered. We are more concerned with motorists who have not made any effort in the last 12 months to get their vehicle legally registered... We recommend motorists show evidence of their attempt."

Malone also recommended making an appointment, even if it's months out, and bringing a print-out of your confirmation with you in your car.

He added that bills will be presented at some point in the legislative session to bring more funding to the DMV. We will follow this claim and keep you updated.

The DMV is currently hiring for professionals to help with these lines. Click here for more information.

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