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Longer wait for driver's license under new rules

Mar 14, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

A new state law means it takes longer to get or renew a driver's license in Fremont County than it used to, but local officials are working on the problem.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation drivers services is asking for help from the public to speed up the lines in offices, and the department is taking steps locally.

Since the state's adoption of the federal Real ID Act in June, the department has warned that lines in drivers services offices are growing longer.

"We've got two new people in there," said WyDOT drivers services manager Don Edington of the Riverton and Lander offices. "That's good news and bad news."

He said it takes a while for new employees to get the hang of operations, but "it's definitely going to help in the long haul."

This brings staff to a total of four. Their time is split between the Riverton and Lander offices.

One of the new staffers came on board at the beginning of the year and the other in early February, Edington said.

The local offices suffered a bout of turnovers last year with individuals either retiring or leaving.

"We finally got all those positions filled," Edington said.

In Lander, a third work station was added to help process the long lines.

At this time, Edington is not sure when the added station would officially be manned.

"There's still the possibility of refurbishing in Lander," he said, adding it might be a while before that happens.

He said Riverton's small office space is an issue WyDOT is looking to remedy.

"We're always looking at that," Edington said. "We just haven't found anything."

The Real ID Act requires proof of U.S. citizenship (original or state-certified copy of a birth

certificate, valid U.S. passport or a certificate of citizenship), two documents proving Wyoming residency (such as a vehicle title with name and residential address, utility bill or a lease agreement) and proof of a social security number.

A complete list of acceptable documents can be found at http://www.dot.state.wy.us/wydot/driver_license_records.

Edington said the proof of identity tends to be the more common issue among people applying for driver's licenses. Getting copies of birth certificates from other states can be time consuming, and he's heard reports of California taking up to six months to mail a copy to an individual.

"What makes it so much easier is if everybody has what they need in hand," he said.

Part of what takes longer on the staffing side is that each official document must be scanned into the computer system, Edington said, and that work then needs to be double-checked.

According to a WyDOT press release, statewide lines are longest in the late afternoon when people leave school and work early.

Edington said this is also true for Lander and added that the earlier people can come the better.

The Riverton office, 877 N. Eighth West, is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The Lander office, 125 Sunflower St., is open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Everyone in line as of 4:15 p.m. will be processed.

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