DMV seeks to cut wait times at license offices

Posted March 20, 2012

— The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is preparing to introduce a new electronic system for renewing and issuing licenses that officials say will cut the time most people spend at DMV offices.

The Next Generation Secure Driver License System being introduced early next year also will include features such as laser-engraved 3-D photos on driver's licenses, officials said Tuesday.

Deputy DMV Commissioner Johanna Reese said budget cuts have left branches understaffed, leading to long lines and wait times that average about 34 minutes.

"One of our main goals is to cut back the wait time in some of our bigger and busier offices," Reese told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. "Some (waits) can go a couple hours or more, and we'd really like to get people in and out faster."

Part of the problem is that branches are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday – the same hours that most people work. The DMV is recommending having offices open 10 hours a day, four days a week.

"This would accommodate people who would be able to come after work and before work and also spread out our workload during the work day," Reese said.

The agency also is seeking more power to move staff from quieter offices to busier ones to help cut wait times to under 30 minutes.

Solving the staffing problem would take money, but Reese didn't provide any cost estimates.

Line at DMV license office Staffing shifts could speed up lines at DMV offices

The DMV wants to charge an extra dollar for some online services and for paper copies of the driver's handbook. Lawmakers could also raise the driver's license fee, especially for first-time licenses with road tests, which currently cost $4.

"It is a pretty good deal, and it may be something that needs to be looked at, so we've got all these options on the table," said Rep. Philip Frye, R-Mitchell.

The solution seems pretty simple to Corey Narron, who spent his entire lunch hour Tuesday at the DMV office on Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh.

"Extend the hours a little bit (and) hire a few more people. That should solve the problem," Narron said. "I don't think it's fair. I think, if we had to take our time off of work to come, that the speed of the time to be seen should be faster than what it is."

The changes to driver's licenses are part of a national push to introduce new security measures and decrease the possibility of identity theft. The new licenses to be issued to North Carolina's more than 6.9 million drivers will also include machine-readable technology and backgrounds with variable colors and patterns. Officials say the changes will make the ID cards virtually impossible to counterfeit.


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  • Rebelyell55 Mar 21, 2012

    Privatize or put in place a compensation program that rewards hard efficient motivated work!
    March 21, 2012 11:30 a.m.
    ......Failed, that what lead to corruption.... Good management would be the best solution, and also, don't assume they're not good or productive. You have all kinds just like in other companies.

  • gmjaime Mar 21, 2012

    renewed mine on March 14 at the Garner office....no waiting at all. I was in and out in 10 minutes and the employees were very courteous and efficient.

  • ncouterbanks69 Mar 21, 2012

    might quit my day job and open churro stand outside dmv. man i'd make millions.....................................

    Darn that made me laugh. At the same time it is sad because there are not many taxpayers in there at least when I go. They should have a "I am a taxpayer express line" that would speed things up.

  • obamablows Mar 21, 2012

    might quit my day job and open churro stand outside dmv. man i'd make millions.....................................

  • obamablows Mar 21, 2012

    why have driver licenses ? You dont need to show them or ID card to vote. The sheer number of Hispanics in the dmv prove that there is no voter intimidation when it comes time to vote. dems are scared because requiring ID/driver license would force the lazy/uneducated to get up from bed and act responsibly. dems know they will vote cause keepin dems in will ensure free ride (food stamps,medicaid insert any liberal program you like)

  • obamablows Mar 21, 2012

    every time i go to the DMV, i think ive stepped into 3rd world south of the border country where english is the exception not the rule.

  • ncouterbanks69 Mar 21, 2012

    When I worked at DMV we tried everything to get the bosses to let us do 4 days 10 hours but it was out of the question.

    Who would not want that schedule? 3 day weekends EVER week? Sounds like a dream but I do not see how that would increase productivity.

  • jockeyshiftspringer Mar 21, 2012

    trekkie13 said: "...the DMV rightly assessed that I needed to wear corrective lenses while driving."

    Not trying to be a smart alec, but could you not have figured this out?

  • Bartmeister Mar 21, 2012

    When I worked at DMV we tried everything to get the bosses to let us do 4 days 10 hours but it was out of the question.

    Well Barb, from an administrative and production perspective 5 8 hour days are more productive than 4 10 hour days. 4 10's tend to benefit the employee as much or more than the employer, or in this case the public. And from what I've sen from DMV, nobody there is in any kind of a hurry to be productive, much like the US Postal Service. I understand that DMV deals with all kinds of people, and that would be enough to put most in a bad mood. BUT, they are paid by the State, with State benefits, and a sense of entitlement to boot. They have the attitude that "you have to get past me to drive" mentality more so than "how can I help you today" mindset. I would be in favor of online testing and test centers to show up and drive and get rid of all of the unproductive "pork" we call the DMV. Turn right please..............

  • BubbaDuke Mar 21, 2012

    When I renewed my license last fall, they took my picture but then mailed my license to me. Maybe that saves time waiting for the film to develop and to print the license; but when have you ever been in a DMV office where there wasn't a line? N.C. went from a 4 year renewal to a 5 year to help reduce the wait time.

    The whole notion of renewing a license should be rethought. If you're under 70 and renewing, just send a bill like you do for the tags. The highway laws don't change that much. If you're just starting out, lost your license at some point, or you're older and not as quick as you used to be, then go take a written and driving test. A drivers license is as much a tax as it is a form of identification. The test is a waste of time for 90% of drivers.