SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- At 7:29 last Thursday morning, one minute before the doors even opened, nearly 200 people were already in line waiting to enter the Sandy Springs Department of Driver Services.
Drivers have waited up to five hours (and more) to renew their licenses after a change in law that took effect July 1st. The new law requires more stringent driver identification procedures which will result in the creation of a new, 'secure' license.
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Drivers must appear in person to renew or reinstate a Georgia driver's license or obtain a new one. They must also present a valid passport or original birth certificate for ID purposes, as well as an official document displaying their Social Security number and two pieces of proof showing Georgia residency, such as a utility bill or a bank statement.
Although the changes have been publicized for several months, the new procedures caught many drivers off guard and have been leaving them frustrated and license-less.
DDS spokesperson Susan Sports told 11Alive News her agency was authorized to hire 22 extra staff to help deal with the new federal ID regulations.
Even so, she admits they were caught off guard by Tuesday's rush.
"We were expecting big crowds today (Thursday). Typically a day after a holiday is very crowded. We weren't expecting such large crowds on Tuesday," she said.
Sports predicts the wait will decrease as both drivers and DDS staff get used to the new rules.
In fact, by the end of Thursday, many drivers told us they were able to get their licenses as the Sandy Springs office after less than an hour wait.