News release from Department of Safety:
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced that the average wait time at state driver services centers has decreased so far this year compared to 2012.
The average wait time from January 1 – June 30 at centers statewide, excluding reinstatement centers, fell from 34 minutes in 2012 to 31.5 minutes in 2013. There was a slight increase, however, from the first quarter of 2013 in which the average wait time was 30.5 minutes compared to the second quarter when the wait time averaged 32 minutes.
The decrease in wait time for the first six months happened while the number of statewide transactions at driver services centers increased. Driver license examiners served 621,405 customers from January 1 – June 30, 2012. In the first six months of 2013, the number of customers grew to 626,211.
“We are monitoring these figures very closely. Reducing the wait time at our driver service centers is a priority so when we experience an increase we act immediately to identify the reasons,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
Gibbons attributed the increase in the second quarter of 2013 in part to the increase in handgun carry permit applications as well as the installation of new equipment.
During the first six months of 2013, the department accepted 86,334 handgun carry permit applications at driver services centers, compared to 40,503 applications accepted during the first six months of 2012. That is an increase of 113 percent.
The department continues to install new equipment and software at all driver services centers in preparation for a new central issuance process of issuing driver licenses. While this new process is expected to help reduce wait times in the future, the installation of the equipment is causing some delays.
The Driver Services Division is also in the process of hiring additional part-time employees to help the centers at peak hours. Funding for the positions was appropriated in the current state budget.
“The new equipment and additional staff should help us in the long term provide better and more efficient service to our customers,” Gibbons noted.