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ENC Regional News
Thu February 14, 2008
New regs for driver's licenses
By George Olsen
New Bern, NC – INTRO - State and federal regulations passed in the last three years will result in North Carolinians soon seeing a different process for receiving a driver's license. George Olsen has more.
The Federal Real ID Act was signed into law in May 2005 following the revelation that many of the 9/11 hijackers were able to obtain drivers licenses in several states. The Real ID act requires anyone entering a federal building or boarding an airline to present ID that meets certain standards. That in turn prompted the state legislature to enact a Central Issuance law in July 2006 aiming toward a more secure process for issuing driver's licenses. The first effects for North Carolinians will be felt July 1.
00:54 You'll still go to your usual drivers license office, your local office, and you'll still take the test you need to take, the sign test, if you need to take a written test, if you need to take a driving test, whatever, and you'll have your picture made and do all the things you do now, but at the end of that you'll be given a 20-day temporary driving certificate, so its only good for 20-days.
Marge Howell is a Division of Motor Vehicles communications officer in Raleigh. That 20 days will be used to verify the information you provided is in fact correct. Under current law you would receive your permanent license on-the-spot. As of July 1 you'll get the temporary certificate and then wait to receive your permanent license in the mail as all licenses will now be produced at a single location in this case, Raleigh. That's the first phase of a revamped licensing system. It's the second phase slated to go into effect December 1st that might cause some consternation for those dropping by their license office.
00:54 If you've never brought your birth certificate to the drivers license office, and even if you have when you were 16 and just getting your license for the first time, you will more than likely have to bring that document in again. After December 1 we'll start scanning documents and so this is what is anticipated to make the wait times go up because obviously you'll spend an increased amount of time there in front of the license examiner. It will take, face-to-face time with the examiner, will increase from what it is now from about 9 minutes to about 16 minutes, so it will almost double.
In addition to digging up your birth certificate, you'll need some proof of residence a utility bill, a county tax bill or perhaps a rental agreement. If it all sounds like a bit of an annoyance, it's causing some annoyances as well at the DMV. The final rules on Real ID didn't come until January 2008. The new rules mean more work & more equipment for which, at the moment, there isn't more money.
09:17 You have to have a need before you know what to ask for. We couldn't ask for it before we knew what the situation was. The legislature is coming back in May and I expect there'll be some discussion about this and I know we'll look to them for assistance.
DMV will ask the state Legislature to fund 104 new positions to help with the increased workload. They'll also need money for new equipment, primarily document scanners for the 115-or-so license offices scattered across the state. And there are some aspects of the Central Issuance law that remain to be worked out, such as a requirement aimed at reducing address fraud that you give DMV a resident address that the post office can deliver your license to.
13:23 There are some communities in NC who do not have U-S Postal Service delivery at their residence, and these are usually rural areas where there are just not there are just no carriers there with the postal service and so those people have been asked by the postal service, required by the postal service to receive their mail at central post office boxes, usually at the local post office. So we are apprised of that situation and looking at making some changes to the requirements.
The changes won't result in everyone needing to renew their license immediately. Your present license is good until its time for renewal. In fact, DMV's goal is to have everyone in the 50-and-under age group having a Real ID compliant license by 2014 and those over 50 having one by 2017. And the federal government keeps moving effective dates for enforcement of Real ID in March 2007 it was postponed until December 2009 which was again postponed until 2011 just last month. I'm George Olsen.