Out of time: Officials say Oklahoma will not reach compliance standards in time for Real ID Act

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OKLAHOMA CITY - It's a deadline we've been talking about for some time now; a date when Oklahomans can't use their driver's license to board an airplane.

It's all part of the Real ID Act, which is a coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability of state issued ID's.

It's meant to inhibit terrorists' ability to get fake ID's.

However, Oklahoma passed a law in 2007 that said our state wouldn't comply with the Real ID Act.

Critics say they are concerned about how our information will be stored, but now officials have a new concern.

After several attempts to get the law reversed failed this legislative session, Oklahomans are now facing a deadline.

Some Oklahomans getting driver's licenses at the Department of Public Safety headquarters Monday morning had no idea that ID won't let them on an airplane very soon.

"No, I had no idea until you let me know. That's insane! So, when's the deadline?" asked Alex Alexander.

Officials say Jan. 22, 2018 is when you must have a driver's license that is compliant with the Real ID Act in order to board an airplane.

However, Oklahoma did not get a bill passed this legislative session to allow us to do that.

"There's like no way for us to change our mind?" asked Alexander.

Unfortunately, there's not.

"I mean, this just seems like bare minimum competency to get this addressed so that our residents and citizens can fly around the country," said Sen. David Holt.

Sen. Holt had a bill that would have repealed parts of the 2007 law that forbids Oklahoma from complying with Real ID.

It also would have given citizens the choice to have a Real ID compliant license or a non-compliant one.

However, the bill never made it out of the House.

"Oklahomans want the choice and the liberty to choose to fly around the United States using their Oklahoma driver's license," said Sen. Holt.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson says we have an extension until October of this year.

He will ask for another one, but is not optimistic that Oklahoma will get it.

"I don't think there will be a lot of flexibility on some of these deadlines that are looming now," said Thompson.

 

Oklahoma could still get something passed in next year's legislative session but it would be too late to make that Jan. 2018 deadline.

Commissioner Thompson says it would probably take our state two years to get everything in place to issue the new driver's licenses.

Bottom line, Sen. Holt has advice for Oklahomans who are truly worried about being able to travel by air.

"Anybody who is really concerned about it, unfortunately, I would probably recommend they consider getting a passport," said Holt.

A passport or military ID are both considered Real ID compliant and would work to get you on an airplane.