Long Lines, Long Waits in Alabama

Alabama made a heroic effort to replace their old way of handling driver's licenses with something that meets the known requirements for Real ID. Quoting from an AP story in the Times Daily: the result, currently, is
" ... long lines and long waits for driver licenses. State officials blame a combination of computer problems for the delays.

Computer slowdowns have shown up both in the statewide switch to the new federally mandated system that states must adopt by 2008 and in the state's new driver licenses system.

"We are trying to do in six months what other states have until 2008 to complete," Limestone County License Commissioner Greg Tucker told The Decatur Daily for a story Friday."

Unfortunately, when the DHS publishes the rest of the Real ID requirements (and they can do pretty much anything), Alabama will have to do a lot over.
"Not only is the state not ready, Homeland Security is not ready," Tucker said. The federal agency hasn't completed its rules for the new system.

Alabama Department of Public Safety Director Mike Coppage said he went ahead with Real ID because the state had its own new driver license system being installed. He said state officials did not anticipate the computer problems.

The state changed to a new Alabama driver licenses system last fall and installed computer equipment through the end of 2005. As more work stations came on line, delays occurred, DPS spokeswoman Martha Earnhardt said Friday.

The computer outages have lasted on average 1-3 hours, sometimes twice a day, she said. The contractor, Digimarc, is working with its contractors to correct the problem.

The Real ID changeover caused additional delays, she said.


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