‘Top-to-Bottom Review’ of Long Drivers’ License Lines

Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said he’s re-examining how often Tennesseans should be required to subject themselves to the anguish and aggravation of visiting a state motor vehicle office, reports Andrea Zelinski.
Gibbons and his staff are currently engaged in a “top-to-bottom review” of drivers license examination processes and renewal centers with an eye toward transforming them into “customer-friendly” hubs that get people in and out before they noticeably age or descend irreversibly into madness.
The average wait time across the state is 55 minutes, says Gibbons, but that doesn’t even count the hours it takes to stand in lines that sometimes wrap outside the building and leave people in the sweltering heat for hours before reaching the first kiosk to take a number.
In brainstorming ideas to help shorten up the wait to about 30 minutes, Gibbons said he’s considering whether to give more time between drivers license renewals.
He said he’s looking into Arizona, for example, where drivers only need a new photo and an eye exam once every 12 years.
…Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Tracy, meanwhile, said he is looking into a Democratic proposal that died in committee last year that would have changed the five-year renewal period to every eight years.

The long lines at driver license stations come with a new law taking effect Jan. 1 that requires a photo ID to vote.. and a law saying those without a license can get a free ID at driver license stations. The Tri-State Defender recently chronicled a three-hour wait in line at Memphis and questioned whether officials are ready deal with any influx of folks needing an ID to vote.
It’s doubtful that any of the ideas Gibbons has for easing the situation — Zelinski lists several — will have any effect on things before next year’s elections.

Leave a Reply