A California lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to give drivers more time to renew their licenses in response to reports of excessive wait times at the DMV.
The proposal from Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, would provide a 90-day deadline extension to renew all licenses set to expire this year and to register out-of-state vehicles.
“No Californian should spend an entire day off work waiting in line to take care of DMV business or wait for several weeks to make an appointment,” Bates said in a statement. “The media stories and first-hand accounts from constituents about shockingly-long wait times and other logistical challenges at DMV offices demands that the Legislature act quickly.
Wait times have climbed at DMV offices across the state this year as more residents begin lining up to meet new federal identification requirements. Californians are required to make a dreaded visit to the DMV in-person to obtain a federally-approved Real ID, the only form of an identification card the Transportation Security Administration will accept to board domestic flights after Oct. 1, 2020. Travelers can also continue to show their passports to clear TSA checkpoints for all flights.
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Visitors wait an average of 69 minutes until their number is called at DMV offices across California, which increases to 102 minutes at offices in the Sacramento region. The average does not include the prolonged period initially spent in line to obtain a number. Appointments at some offices are not available for weeks, forcing residents with expiring licenses to stand in line for what can become an all-day affair.
Bates’ office said angry constituents have been calling her and other lawmakers in the Capitol asking how the Legislature intends to address the problem.
Some legislators believe one solution is to provide additional funding to the DMV, while others accuse the agency of mismanagement and plan to request a state audit next week.
The DMV has expanded hours at field offices throughout the state to offset the demand. The agency announced earlier this week that 17 additional offices, for a total of 60 statewide, would open on Saturday. Last month the DMV began opening 14 field offices two hours earlier at 7 a.m. four days a week.