Long lines for driver's licenses ‘will improve,’ Ga. DDS assures
Stringent federal identification requirements that took effect July 1 have lengthened the lines for those renewing their driver’s license statewide, and the trend has occurred here at the Fayetteville driver’s license office as well.
Peachtree City resident Julia Cleath said last week the line just to get in the building went outside the door, and a photo she snapped showed about 10 people in line just waiting to get inside. It took about 30 minutes to get to the end of that line just to get a number and have a seat in the lobby, Cleath said.
The staff had all five customer service windows in use, Cleath noted, saying they “seemed to be doing a great job.”
Cleath spent an hour and a half replacing her lost driver’s license. On Friday afternoon, The Citizen surveyed several customers as they left the building off McDonough Road, and their wait time varied from a half-hour to more than two hours.
A spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Driver Services said that wait times are improving in Fayetteville. Susan Sports suggested that anyone whose license doesn’t expire soon should hold off as wait time will continue to improve in coming weeks.
Sports also suggested staying away from the local DDS office on Tuesdays, the first day of the week they are open when lines are traditionally long. The office is closed on Mondays and open only a half day on Saturdays.
She noted that on July 11 the average wait time for a customer at the Fayetteville office was one hour and 12 minutes for 228 customers served. Two weeks later the average wait time was down to 46 minutes for 245 customers, Sports said.
“Our examiners are tuned to it and they’re adapting and improving so hopefully it won’t continue,” Sports said of the long wait times. “We’re moving in the right direction.”
The customers who have the most problems renewing their license are those who have changed their names since they were born due to marriage, adoption or other issues, Sports said.
Cleath said she felt if the office was open on Mondays too it would help the backlog a lot.
“The outdoor line just put me over the edge. It was ridiculous,” Cleath said, adding that she worried about elderly persons who have to stand in long lines.
Cleath said the parking at the site is also insufficient and almost caused her to get in a crash as she left.
“I think the biggest problem is that the location isn’t sufficient,” Cleath said.
There have been reports statewide of longer lines due to the new renewal requirements as drivers must provide additional documents to prove their identity including one that proves the driver’s Social Security number, two documents that prove the driver’s residential address, one original or certified document to prove the driver’s identity such as a birth certificate or a valid, unexpired passport and appropriate name change documents if the driver’s name differs from his or her birth certificate.
To help customers come with all the necessary documents for a license renewal or new license, the state has a website that helps create a checklist of documents that will be accepted at http://www.dds.ga.gov/SecureID/. To create the checklist, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link button for “Create My Custom Checklist.”
The new process began July 1st as one of the final phases of the federal “Real ID Act” via federal legislation passed in 2005.