PEARL, MS (WLBT) - After receiving numerous complaints about the lengthy wait for driver’s licenses, we reached out to the Department of Public Safety for answers. Officials say more money is the real solution.
“It’s like a lot of people. Like, it’s packed. Like, it’s people sitting on the floor,” said Jamarious Jiles after leaving the Pearl Driver’s License location on Monday. The 18-year-old shared the same disgust as motorists in the crowded Jackson office.
Angry residents seeking licenses or IDs want the state to open other locations and hire more workers.
“I already got a license from another state,” said Jiles. “I was just trying to get it switched over and they had me waiting for, like, three to four hours.”
“It’s frustrating to know that you have to take off a day of work just to get this process done,” said Annita Bonner of Clinton. “I hope that they really would consider opening up different facilities for the community.”
We asked the Department of Public Safety why the waits are so long.
DPS Communications Director Therese Apel said there are five examiners at the Jackson office and five at the Pearl location. There are 49 vacancies. The starting pay is $21,000 a year.
According to Apel, they are in the process of allowing drivers to set up appointments online to come to the office at their convenience. In the meantime, they are working on other time-saving efforts.
“It’s a queuing process, basically. If you’re getting your driver license renewed or if you’re getting a duplicate ID, you get a different number, a different letter than other people,” said Apel. “So that we move those through, which then shortens the line for everybody else. But, also, you don’t come here and stay forever for a driver’s license renewal.”
Department of Public Safety officials say improvements are in the hands of lawmakers who could provide more funding to hire more workers and open more locations to serve motorists.
We checked with Mobile and Baton Rouge for wait times for obtaining a license. The Mobile Driver License Office gave a range of 30 minutes to three hours.
We placed two calls to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicle in Baton Rouge. Our calls were not answered due to high call volume.