Lawmakers tour driver’s license offices; hope to shorten lines

MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - No one looks forward to heading to the driver's license office. Lawmakers know this and they're on the ground trying to get you in and out much faster.

Representative Randall Shedd (R - Morgan County) chairs the House Interim Driver License Review Committee. New House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R - Madison County) put new emphasis on improving customer service in state agencies during the 2016 session. The committee is part of that effort.

So Rep. Shedd is touring statewide offices, talking with examiners about the needs for more funding, and what else can shorten lines.

"We're focusing on, first, anything we can do to prevent people from having to go to the office and wait," said Rep. Shedd.

He explains that through a partnership with ALEA (Alabama Law Enforcement Agency) he's working to promote all that can be accomplished online, such as license renewals or duplicates, and scheduling.

"We’re also realizing there's a shortage of personnel," he said. "For example, Marshall County has one examiner for a 100,000 [person] population."

He also expresses concern over the offices that closed statewide, saying that cutting state services in rural area negatively affects private enterprise's ability to succeed.

Also on the committee is Representative Phillip Pettus. He's also a retired trooper who supervised north Alabama driver's license offices. He and Rep. Shedd agree that a big internal change, affecting student drivers, may alleviate long line woes.

Currently, student drivers seeking a license have to come to the office twice to complete the process.

"We’re also working to have the skills test done at the board of education so parents don't have to take an off day to sit up here and get the test done," said Pettus.

Both representatives hear about places like Huntsville/Madison County where people line up hours before the doors open, or else they won't get serviced.

They also mentioned possibly raising fees for services to fund the hiring of more examiners to get taxpayers in and out of the offices faster.