ATLANTA — A new requirement for those seeking to get or renew a Georgia driver’s license is causing long lines and frustration in its first week of implementation.
By 7:30 a.m. Friday, hundreds of people had lined up at the Department of Driver Services office in Gwinnett County, and many of them had been there for more than two hours, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Television stations reported waits of five hours or more at offices in Norcross and Sandy Springs this week.
Under the new rules, customers applying for or renewing a driver’s license must go to a Department of Driver Services customer service center in person and present an original or certified birth certificate, Social Security card and two documents proving where they live. That requirement was already in place for people applying for their first license or ID card. The new rules extend that requirement to renewals and reinstatements. Also, the first renewal after the law change must be done in person, not online.
Peggy Walker of Lilburn took her 15-year-old son to a Gwinnett center for the third time on Friday to get his learner’s permit.
“The first time we did not have exactly what they asked us for ... and the second time we were pushed away from the line because too many people were here,” she told the newspaper. “So this is our third attempt at getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning and getting ready to be here at 7 and there was already a line of probably 100 people.”
She called the experience very frustrating.
“They should’ve announced this, put it out on the media, made everyone aware ... what they needed before they got here,” she said.
Alysia Pennington of Lawrenceville was in line at 5:40 a.m. Friday. It was her fourth attempt to get her license renewed. She had given up after three and a half hours Thursday. She was more understanding — and more prepared — than some.
“Unfortunately, with all the identity theft, I do understand it’s to protect us. So you have to bring your patience — and a book,” she said.
Susan Sports, spokeswoman for the state Department of Driver Services, said the federal government required states to develop more secure identification in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The state has been implementing various changes to licenses and identification cards at different phases. The state has until 2017 to get license or ID holders over age 50 to comply.
Sports said the new process will become smoother with time.