Local News

Wake DMV begins mailing licenses

Posted June 29, 2009 5:44 a.m. EDT
Updated June 29, 2009 7:59 a.m. EDT

— Beginning Monday, North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles offices in Wake County will mail drivers licenses to motorists instead of issuing them on site. The goal, officials say, is to reduce fraud and cut down on fake IDs.

Motorists will leave with a temporary driving certificate, which is good for 20 days until their license arrives in the mail.

"Just the idea of not having a product when I leave the place makes me a little bit nervous. What's the purpose?" asked driver Carol McCoy.

The change is part of a new policy called central issuance. DMV officials say it will give them more time to review documentation motorists present to obtain a license.

"We certainly don't want a drivers license issued to someone who wants to do harm to the people of North Carolina or to the United States," said N.C. DMV commissioner Mike Robertson.

Under the plan, motorists applying for or renewing a license will continue to visit one of the county's six offices to take any required tests and to have their photos taken.

The permit is valid for 20 days, but the DMV expects most licenses will be delivered within 7 to 10 days.

"The primary emphasis is about security," said Tony Spence, acting director for the DMV's Driver and Vehicle Services.

In addition to reducing fraud, Spence said moving driver's license production to a central location will remove equipment from the state's 114 DMV offices – some of which have been targets of thieves looking to make fake IDs.

The program will be put in place at other offices across the state by the fall. Harnett County served as a test site for the pilot program over the past year.

Since last July, more than 63,000 drivers applied for licenses at offices in Lillington and Erwin and saw those licenses delivered by central issuance.

Sixteen states have either started or completed their transition to central issuance of driver licenses. Among them, Virginia completed its rollout to 74 offices statewide on June 18. Georgia plans to begin its rollout this fall.