Tennessee overhauling drivers license system - WSMV Channel 4

Tennessee overhauling drivers license system

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

In the future you could soon renew your license at the library or even Wal-Mart, and getting in touch with a relative after a car crash will be easier.

Everybody has a story about visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Falah Ishmel of Nashville said Tuesday he was at the Hart Lane DMV office for two hours just to change his address.

Carla Ware of Nashville said, "We've been here four times" just to get a license reinstated.  "Each time a different clerk tells us something totally different," Ware said.

Having moved to Tennessee from Kentucky, they've never had to wait so long. Usually in Kentucky, Ware said, "We get in 20 minutes or less and we're done."

But the state of Tennessee is overhauling its more than 30-year-old system to make things better.

Michael Hogan, director of Driver Services, says, "One of the biggest changes is that we'll have electronic applications so we can get away from paper."

Hogan is optimistic that these changes will translate to more technology and touch screen computers at the DMV offices, which will hopefully mean a shorter wait for you.

Emergency contact information will also be stored with a driver's license in the future, making it easier during an accident.

"There might have to be legislation and to govern how that information is used, but it will have the ability to store and track that information," said Hogan.

Self-service kiosks will eventually be set up in libraries, universities and possibly even shopping malls to renew licenses or get a duplicate.

"Right now we are looking at three kiosks that will be in middle, east and west Tennessee and depending on the success of those three, we'll expand an additional 37 across the state," Hogan said.

And quicker service is something everyone seems to be ready for.

"That would be wonderful. It doesn't help us right now, but for the future, that would be great," said Ware.

The three new kiosks that will be in libraries and other places should be around in the next six months. As for the entire system overhaul, Hogan said everyone can expect to see those changes in the next three years.

Right now, Tennesseans have to renew driver's licenses once every five years, but state lawmakers are also looking at extending that to eight years.

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