New law causing hours-long wait at DDS offices

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

Monte Nunn said he expected the long wait so he brought along a project.

NORCROSS, Ga. - Hundreds of drivers found a painfully long wait at the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

Georgia's new drivers' license requirements had them waiting in line for upwards of six hours just to renew.

The new rules require drivers to not only renew in person, but also require you need to bring a lot more paperwork as proof of your identity.

Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh went to the DDS office in Norcross, which remained open until 6:30 p.m. Kavanaugh said by 1:30 p.m. Thursday they were already turning people away.

"Pretty much 2½ hours right now in every category," someone in line said.

At 10:30 a.m., Joanne Annis thought she would go home and come back later.

"Two hours and 35 minutes. I won't do that," Annis said. "I'm going home."

"Sir, I'm sorry, we cannot wait on you today due to the volume of the customers and the wait time of five hours," a DDS attendant told someone trying to renew their license.

The next morning, drivers arrived at the office before dawn. Channel 2's Sophia Choi found cars circling around the area just to find a parking spot.

The state is blaming the delays on new requirements that took effect July 1.

As part of the Secure ID Act drivers must renew their licenses in person and bring several additional documents proving their identities.

Because of the July 4th holiday, Thursday was only the second day with the new rules and the state said they're still working out the kinks.

"As I pulled up, there was a line outside. And then it snaked around and around and around and around," Selina Judd said.

Kavanaugh talked to Judd three hours into her wait to renew her license.

Sheila Lamb was on hour No. 5.

"They're at A-89, so I've only got 19 more in my letter to go," Lamb said.

The frustration could be seen on faces across the room. Others were more vocal about it.

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"It's now going on 2 o'clock in the afternoon. So I don't even know if they're going to see me today," one person told Kavanaugh.

Still others tried to make the most of their time. Monte Nunn said he expected the long wait so he brought along a project.

"I'll probably be done by the end of the week at this rate," Nunn said as he crocheted.

Many customers complained to Kavanaugh that there simply weren't enough people to help all of the customers and were frustrated to see booths unmanned.

Kavanaugh asked the state why some booths were closed. They said in some cases those workers are conducting driving tests, or they could be at lunch.

To prepare for the new Secure ID program, the state added 22 staff positions across their 64 centers.

A spokesperson told Kavanaugh they are still hiring to fill those positions.