Updated: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2012 | Posted: 6:29 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2012
DDS: Wait times for driver's license renewals improving
By Christopher Hong
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Georgia residents who renewed their licences on Tuesday received faster service than last week, but the process still must speed up, according to a Department of Driver Services commissioner's report presented Wednesday morning.
"We did see some improvement in our performance this Tuesday versus last Tuesday,"said George Theobald, a DDS official who gave the report at the monthly Board of Directors meeting in Conyers. "Still, [it's] not where we want to be."
New document requirements for renewing driver's licenses has increased wait times at DDS offices three fold. The statewide average wait time for renewals was one hour and 48 minutes Tuesday, down 19 minutes from last week's average, according to the report. However, that average did not apply to the busier offices in the north Metro area, like Norcross and Lawrenceville, which had average waits of around four hours.
Last week, customers at the busiest offices waited over seven hours. Before the new law, the average time was 35 minutes.
The report also said Tuesday's transaction times decreased to about nine and a half minutes, a 30-second reduction from last week.
Theobald said seven out of 10 people came with the necessary paperwork last week. He said the agency would continue to inform residents about the new requirements and allocate more staff to the busiest offices.
"It's a matter of time getting acclimated with the system and working with the customers," Theobald said.
Under new requirements mandated by the federal government, drivers renewing their licenses must now bring an original or certified birth certificate or valid passport, proof of a Social Security number and two documents proving where they live. Requiring such proof of identity and residency are an antiterrorism measure, intended to make driver's licenses harder to fraudulently obtain.
Board member Virginia Galloway said it was important to remind people that the new law was passed down by the federal government, not the agency.
"We had a good reputation," Galloway said. "This isn't something the DDS dreamed up overnight."
Theobald said the agency was optimistic about Tuesday's statistics and will continue monitoring the situation.
"Trends are very erratic and we might not see it continue today," Theobald said.
Tuesday is typically the busiest day of the week, said Alan Watson, customer service director of Licenses and Records. He recommended visiting the office another day and to avoid lining up early in the morning.
"Show up when it opens or wait later in the day," he said. "When we have that long line in the morning, you are automatically behind, even if you have every window open."
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