ATLANTA — Getting a driver’s license renewed may take a bit longer, at least until staff and customers get a handle on the new changes that went into effect last week.
The new procedures bring Georgia in line with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005 that adopted the recommendations of the 911 Commission.
The Real ID Act prohibits the federal government from accepting driver’s licenses or IDs issued by non-compliant states to board a commercial flight or enter a federal building. By implementing Secure ID, Georgia will be in compliance with the act.
For drivers under the age of 50, whose license has not expired, the new law states that they will need to change their driver’s license by 2015. Those older than 50 will have until 2017 to meet the requirements.
The Ga. Department of Driver Services (DDS) began implementing additional procedures July 2 for the issuance of driver’s licenses and identification cards.
The new procedures, called Secure ID, are designed to make licenses and ID cards more secure from personal identity theft and assist the DDS in staying up-to-date on driver information, said Susan Sports, a spokeswoman for DDS.
“We have seen an incredible high demand of customers this week,” Sports said July 5. “It’s a very abnormal week for us.”
The DDS is closed on Monday.
Sports said she expects the wait times will begin to shorten, and if drivers can wait to renew their license they should wait.
One person, who couldn’t wait was Hildi Moore and her son. He turned 15 on July 4 and didn’t want to wait one day longer for his learner’s permit. So July 5, they arrived at the Cumming DDS center about 2 p.m. and were told the wait was six hours long. She returned the next day early to get a place in line.
“I think it’s a good idea that they have reinforced the drivers’ license process,” Moore said. “It’s cumbersome for we who are not renewing, but I’m all making things safer and better.”
For Diane Berson, of Johns Creek, a Saturday, July 14 visit netted a 4-hour wait.
“Just to be told I was missing one document,” Berson said. “If you are a married woman, you must prove that your name changed from your maiden name. That means a marriage certificate.”
For those who must get a renewal, they should go to the website (at www.dds.ga.gov) to find out all the documents one needs to bring. Plan to show up early if possible.
“The earlier you get in, the larger chance you have not to wait many hours,” Sports said. “The wait times have been pretty long, particular in the metro area.”
These documents will include the following: at least one document to prove primary identity; at least one document to prove Social Security number and at least two documents to prove residency.
“It’s time consuming,” Sports said. “Every situation is really different. No one is going to have the exact documents that everyone else is going to have. We’ve always done renewals at the centers. It’s taking longer to complete a renewal now than it was in the past.”
Sports said a lot of services are available for customers online.
“If they are a native Georgian and they need to exchange their out-of-state license, they should go online and make an appointment,” Sports said. “That will make that process smoother for them. There are change of address online and replacement licenses online.”