Politics & Government

McCrory touts steps to reduce wait times at NCDMV offices

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday to announce that North Carolina residents can now renew their driver’s licenses without coming into an office.
Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday to announce that North Carolina residents can now renew their driver’s licenses without coming into an office. hlynch@newsobserver.com

In June, the state Division of Motor Vehicles quietly began allowing people to renew their driver’s licenses online.

Now the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory is ready to crow about it.

McCrory visited DMV offices in Garner and Asheville on Monday to announce that North Carolina residents can renew their driver’s licenses without coming into an office. More than 100,000 people have done so since the state began testing the idea in June.

“Renewing driver licenses online will help thousands of citizens avoid waiting in lines each year, and free up staff time to serve more customers faster in DMV offices throughout the state,” McCrory said.

McCrory also used his visit to the Garner DMV to sign a Senate bill that allows people to avoid trips to DMV offices for renewing registrations and car titles. The bill allows the acceptance of electronic signatures for title registration applications and other related DMV documents.

Both announcements were part of a McCrory initiative called “Driver’s Change,” which aims to make DMV more efficient and customer-friendly. They came the same day that Attorney General Roy Cooper announced his long-anticipated campaign to try to unseat McCrory next year.

Online renewal now is available every other time a driver’s license expires. License renewals are good for eight years for drivers age 18 to 65, and five years for others. So most North Carolinians will be required to visit a DMV office to get a new driver’s license only once every 16 years – instead of every eight years.

NCDMV estimates that the number of people applying for driver’s licenses or renewals will grow by 1.9 million over the next 20 years. The goal, said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson, is that 30 percent of all eligible renewals will be completed online.

“This means we can devote 30 percent more of our time helping others: helping the new driver safely complete a road test or helping the new resident learn North Carolina rules,” Tennyson said in a statement. “This will be a game changer not only in our offices but also on North Carolina roads.”

DMV says online renewal is not an option – and an office visit is still required – for new licenses, commercial licenses, drivers with medical or other restrictions other than corrective lenses, and drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked.

Other DMV changes include more durable licenses and cameras at every license examiner station, to reduce the time it takes to obtain a new photo. NCDMV is also installing customer-facing screens at each station and a queue-flow system that will track and assist customers throughout their visit.

The NCDMV also will accept credit and debit payments in its offices for the first time. Self-service kiosks will provide customers with touch-screen access to online services in busy NCDMV offices and other public locations.

“The new equipment is important, but it takes people to truly drive change,” NCDMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas said in a press release. “That’s why driver license examiners across the state are undergoing additional training to make the whole customer experience faster and more efficient.”

Joining McCrory at the announcement Monday was former American Idol winner and Garner native Scotty

McCreery. The governor said he expects that young people such as McCreery will be attracted to the DMV’s growing digital services.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland

MyDMV Portal

MyDMV will offer North Carolina residents a secure way to view their personal drivers license and vehicle information, as well as perform online transactions.

The portal will consolidate resident’s NCDMV accounts, showing items such as drivers license expiration dates and registration information for their vehicles. It will also offer links to other online NCDMV services and allow customers to perform transactions.

Customers can access the portal by clicking on the MyDMV icon on the NCDMV homepage or downloading the icon and register using a smartphone or tablet. To register, they must provide either the last four digits of their Social Security number, their I-94 Proof of Legal Entry number or their alien registration number.

In the future, the portal will offer additional services, such as photo updates; renewals and credit card payments via phone; and features such as scheduling appointments and arranging for email reminders.