There’s a perfect storm brewing over the driver services facilities in Illinois.
Thanks to the pandemic, the facilities were closed in 2020 from March to May and then again from November to December. Those closures resulted in 1.9 million expired vehicle registrations and 1.1 million expired driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Fortunately, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has reported a major spike in the number of people renewing their registrations online, but there’s still about 1 million expired driver’s licenses and ID cards out there. And while his office has continually extended the expiration dates on all driver’s license and ID cards — and has done so again recently by moving their expiration date back to Jan. 1, 2022 — drivers have been flocking to the local offices to check the errand off their to-do list.
And when you throw in those looking to get the Real ID — which has also been on the receiving end of an extension and is now not due until May 23, 2023 — the lines have become quite long. So long, in fact, that seeing lines stretch around the building and snaking through parking lots have become a common sight in Illinois.
And that includes the local facilities. We know because we have stood in that line.
Thankfully, White and his office are working on a solution. They are expanding the Safe Driver Renewal program to allow about 650,000 additional Illinoisans to qualify for online or mail-in renewal of their driver’s licenses. If customers use this service, it will help greatly decrease volume at the facilities, they say.
We applaud them for acknowledging the problem and working to solve it. Now, the public just needs to do its part. If you are able to take the online option for renewal, please consider doing so. That will help keep you and those who aren’t afforded the option out of a long line.