Woman Calls Time It Takes To Get A Driver’s License An ‘Embarrassment’

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A mother has had enough wrestling with the state's driver's license office in Huntsville. Sylvia Dean took her son to the Cook Avenue location to let him take a driving test. She told WHNT NEWS 19 workers at the facility turned away her and her son.

Dean tried getting her son behind the wheel with a test-taker three times. She got sick of trying then asked WHNT NEWS 19 to help. Dean says as a taxpayer, she expects to get proper customer service at the state-run office. She told WHNT NEWS 19 what she got was the run-around and it left her son without a license. She calls what happened an embarrassment for the city and state.

The people who wait outside the driving test facility on Cook Ave. each morning often have no idea if they will make it inside.

"I knew it was going to be a long line, so we showed up at six o'clock. It was already a long line," added Dean.

Dean walked the line with her son for two hours to get in the front door.

"I was kind of scared because I thought everyone was going to go postal in there. It was kind of awful. There is not enough room in there first of all. They were trying to herd us in like cattle," added Dean.

Dean did not stay inside long. Workers turned her away.

"I was like, when can you see us? You don't get any answers. You are just turned away. They are so many people. You can't park. So, I went home and started calling people," said Dean.

Dean went back on another day and faced the same problem.

She added, "It's one person working there. She gives a few driver permits, locks the building up, takes out a few people to get their license and comes back to do it all day."

Dean called Mayor Tommy Battle's office, the state office for the Department of Public Safety and offices for her state representatives.

"It is a bad reflection on our state. People move here and want to get a license. It is a bad reflection on Huntsville. You shouldn't have to drive 45 minutes away to get a driver's license in a city this big," added Dean.

Dean didn't get any answers. WHNT NEWS 19 called the Madison County Licensing Director. Mark Craig welcome our news crew into his office.

"Drivers automatically think the problem is with this office. It is totally independent of my office," said Craig.

Craig's office has no authority when it comes to issuing driver's licenses. He wishes it did.

"We're open to helping, but the people who do it now have arresting powers for fraudulent documents and other things that are provided. We do not deal with those documents or have the authority to check those documents," added Craig.

WHNT NEWS 19 talked to a spokesman with the State's Department of Public Safety. The spokesman told WHNT NEWS 19 Dean's issues are like the issues of many others across the state. It all comes down to budgeting.

WHNT NEWS 19 learned the state does not have enough money to hire personnel to properly staff several offices. Our work on this story is not over. We're looking into other license offices in North Alabama to see how they handle the workload.