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DPS experiencing a backlog, what they're doing to fix it

Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 07:40:42-05

TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma’s Department of Public Safety is trying to address a big problem that many of you have complained about — long lines just to renew your driver’s license.

The frustration prompting many of you to reach out to us for answers. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, Sarah Stewart, said they're doing everything to get back to full speed.

“They want you to make an appointment and then you call, and they don’t pick up,” Adrienne Jacobs said.

Jacobs is one of hundreds of drivers at the Tulsa DPS office trying to renew their license. She has been struggling to reach anyone by phone.

“It’s frustrating,” she said.

She tried for two months to book an appointment, but finally decided to travel from Bartlesville to Tulsa hoping for better luck.

Stewart told 2 Works for You a backlog is the reason for the wait.

“Our online reservation system books out for 60 days at a time and it is typically, it has been full,” Stewart said.

Stewart blames several factors for the backlog. COVID-19 cases forcing them to temporarily close some sites. Budget cuts forcing them to cut back on staff and glitches with their new Real ID system slowing down the number of applications they've been able to process.

“I don’t have an estimate as to how many people are affected, but we know that number is high,” Stewart said.

What happens if your license expires while you're waiting to get an appointment to get your license renewed?

Stewart said there is no statewide grace period. DPS is working on a strategy to process the high volume of driver's license appointments more efficiently. DPS is extending the hours at some of their locations to Saturdays. Meanwhile, some locations that usually close at 4:45 p.m. will now stay open until 9 p.m.

“This is adding on more than four hours that we can see customers and the places that we’ve already done it. It’s been very successful,” Stewart said.

A recent executive order from Gov. Stitt expanded the ability of tag agents to renew and replace commercial driver's licenses and allows tech school to administer the written driver's license test for both Class D and Commercial Driver's Licenses.

Meanwhile, Jacobs is waiting for her turn.

"Hopefully, I have everything because that’s what I was calling for to make sure I didn’t have to make an appointment or you know, I have everything, so I won’t have to take another trip,” Jacobs said.

Last month two DPS locations in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa location stayed open until 9 p.m. and serviced hundreds of customers. That’s why they believe continuing to expand their hours will help them reduce the backlog.

You must schedule an appointment to take advantage of the extended hours. For more information about the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, click here.

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