Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan
After waiting for 6 hours Juliana Roca of Buford gets her picture taken for her renewed license by examiner Joe Smitherman at the Georgia Department of Driver Services building in Norcross on Friday. The requirements have changed state wide when applying for license renewals and reinstatements causing long delays.
NORCROSS -- With aching legs, Debbie W. Drew trudged from the Department of Driver Services building.
She arrived at 10 a.m., and stood in line until 4 p.m. before she could get her driver's license renewed. "I feel like I've just been through a war," Drew said, laughing. "I had no idea I was going to be here all day long."
Under 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. The requirement was already in place for people applying for their first license or ID card.
The new rules extend the requirement to renewals and reinstatements. Also, the first renewal after the law change must be done in person, not online.
Many customers waiting in line on Friday were feeling the lag.
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 said. "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."
Quinton Hash of Gwinnett County stepped out of the Department of Driver Services shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday. He said he had only been waiting a few minutes, because he wanted to find out what papers he needed. Upon learning, he said he would return on Monday with all of his proper documents.
"I saw some people here that said they'd been waiting all day," Hash 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.
"Anytime we have a process change, there's a learning curve with the examiners, meaning it takes them longer to complete a transaction," she said. "I don't expect us evening out until next week."
--The Associated Press contributed to this story.