OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Today lawmakers are addressing the massive backlog for Oklahomans racing to get a Real ID, creating headaches and long lines at DPS and tag agencies. Now, they say they’ve got a plan to get back on track.
“In this day and age, we can pretty much do anything. We can fly people to the moon. Now, we can send things to Mars. But we can’t go get a driver’s license renewed? I mean, it’s ridiculous,” said Lindley Welch, who drove to a rural tag agency to get a driver’s license.
Thousands of Oklahomans are hitting a roadblock.
“At this point, there are so many people now that are not in compliance. We are all driving around with expired licenses,” said April Crutison, who says she is still waiting to receive her license she ordered online in March.
Senate Bill 1057 was signed by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday, hoping to get the state back on track.
“Here we are now with a challenge before us to handle the backlog of the Real IDs,” said Rep. Dell Kerbs, R-Shawnee.
“This is a situation where Oklahomans deserve better. We are in a situation where due to the COVID crisis, due to our inability to provide enough systems, enough software, enough computers, to be able to handle the demand for Real ID,” said Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry.
That bill gives Oklahomans the option to extend their renewal license time from four years to eight years.
It will restore the 2020 budget cuts to the Department of Public Service bringing back more license examiners.
It will provide more equipment to tag agencies to process Real IDs.
And Real ID mega-centers are set to pop up in Oklahoma City and Tulsa this summer.
“I spent five days going to all these little, small towns in Oklahoma, waiting in line,” Welch said.
“In some cases, Oklahomans are driving two hours to get a real ID or get a schedule with a tag agency,” Kerbs said.
Hall and Kerbs say those mega-centers will be modeled off of the COVID-19 vaccine pods, hoping to keep people in the metro from driving to rural tag agencies.
But it’s not a solution for everyone, like Crutison, who says she has yet to receive her driver’s license she renewed online back in March, which she says she has already paid for, leaving her no choice but to wait.
“I literally carry around my receipt and my expired license so that if I were ever in a position where I got pulled over, I have some type of documentation that I’m aware of it and I’m working on it,” Crutison said.
Stitt’s office sent us this statement on Wednesday, saying the following:
“Senate Bill 1057 is a needed step toward making it easier to get a REAL ID or driver’s license and the governor is continuing to work with state agencies on additional solutions to fix the challenges Oklahomans are experiencing.”CHARLIE HANNEMA, CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS
Legislators say the mega-centers will cost $6.6 million to establish, but we’re told it will be no additional cost to Oklahomans.