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DPS to potentially close 25 State Driver's License Exam offices amid budget cuts

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Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 17:51:19-04

It's something we all dread, standing in line at your local driver's license office.

The wait sometimes seems endless, and officials said it could get a lot longer. If more budget cuts are handed down to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, it could potentially force the closing of 25 examination locations across the state.

For Devan Dobyns' and his son, the driver's license office can be a nightmare.

"There is standing room only, even with an appointment we were about 15 to 20 minutes behind," Dobyns said.

But that 15 to 20 minute wait, isn't looking so bad after DPS announced what would happen if it has to cut its budget another 15 percent.

"We're going to have to get rid of some of our driver's license exam locations," Trooper Dwight Durant, Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Currently, there are 31 offices statewide, but if the budget cuts persist, 25 will be closed, leaving only 11 in all of Oklahoma.  Twelve in Green Country would potentially close, including offices in west Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Claremore and Bartlesville.

"I can't even fathom that even happening with the way that is organized now," Dobyns said.

DPS will be forced to do the minimum required by state law, only keeping offices open every 100 miles. This means those in rural Oklahoma will be forced to commute. But it's not just about the inconvenience.

"There will no longer be services in those buildings," Durant said.

He adds that employees will be out of jobs and staffing at other sites will not increase.

"Some of them have invested all they have in the state and in this department," Durant said. "They've worked there for a long time. They have wives, they have families, they have husbands."

Valuable employees will be gone, and those who remain left, will be overwhelmed.

"You're already in a job that you don't know about tomorrow," Dobyn's said. "That's the main thing now is security in your job."

With these potential budget cuts, officials said security is at risk for us all.  As budget cuts reduce the amount of troopers on the roads, jobs and public convenience are now in the cross hairs. The DPS office near east 21st will be the only remaining office in the Tulsa area.

OHP asks that if citizens oppose the budget cuts, to contact your local legislator.

Lawmakers are still reviewing revenue options at this time, and there is no date for when the closures would be implemented if budget cuts are approved.

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