Governor announces statewide online driver license renewals

GARNER – Gov. Pat McCrory announced today that online driver license renewal will now be available statewide by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles. The improvement is part of the governor’s “Driving Change” initiative which is focused on improving customer service at the DMV through technology and increased efficiencies.

“Renewing driver licenses online will help thousands of citizens avoid waiting in lines each year, and free up staff time to serve more customers faster in DMV offices throughout the state,” McCrory said.

The governor made the announcement at the Garner DMV office and used the occasion to sign into law legislation (S 370) that will allow the acceptance of electronic signatures for title registration applications as well as other related DMV documents.

On hand to greet the governor was Garner native and country music star Scotty McCreery. The governor noted that young people such as McCreery, who is a N.C. State student, will probably be among the first to flock to the DMV’s growing digital services.

Since online renewals began testing in June, more than 100,000 customers have renewed their licenses without coming into an office. Allowing online renewals decreases waiting times, an important consideration when NCDMV projects that driver license customers will grow by 1.9 million over the next 20 years.

“This is a ‘Eureka!’ moment. I applaud this new effort to make NCDMV more efficient and effective,” said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson. “Our goal is to have 30 percent of all eligible renewals completed online. This means we can devote 30 percent more of our time helping others: helping the new driver safely complete a road test or helping the new resident learn North Carolina rules. This will be a game changer not only in our offices but also on North Carolina roads.”

First-time drivers must still visit NCDMV to complete testing, and drivers with a restriction other than corrective lenses must also come in. Others who must make an office visit are those in the medical review program, those renewing a commercial driver license or a state ID card, or those with suspended or revoked licenses.

The online driver license process will be available to drivers every other time they renew their license, which is allowed up to six months before its expiration date.

Online registration is only one of a number of customer service improvements implemented by Governor McCrory’s Driving Change initiative.

Customers will find cameras at every license examiner station, reducing wait time to obtain a photo. NCDMV is also installing customer-facing screens at each station and a queue-flow system that will track and assist their progress throughout their visit.

Each station will also have a scanner and a printer to speed license issuance service. And, for the first time, NCDMV will accept credit and debit payments in its offices.

Self-service kiosks will provide customers with touch screen access to online services in busy NCDMV offices and other public locations. Customers will be able to use their credit card information and print out a receipt for their service at the kiosk. Future improvements to the kiosks will include credit card swipes and facial recognition for license photo updates.

“The new equipment is important, but it takes people to truly drive change,” said NCDMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “That’s why driver license examiners across the state are undergoing additional training to make the whole customer experience faster and more efficient.”

NCDMV will be upgrading offices from Murphy to Manteo over the next several months, beginning with the state’s 25 busiest offices. After these offices are upgraded, phased improvements will begin at additional offices across the state.