Frustrations grow as delays continue for new driver's licenses

Minnesota leaders say they've ironed out most of the issues with the new vehicle registration system, but trying to get a new driver's license has many applicants dazed by delays.

“I have no idea what is going on down there, but it’s a disaster,” said Stephanie Nease. “It’s ridiculous. This is such a stupid thing to have to focus on when you have so much else going on in your life.”

It is now taking weeks – more often months – for a lot of people to get their new licenses. Nease is one of those people.

“This is a situation where it should be pretty easy,” said Nease. “I got married, in the state of Minnesota, so why is it taking so long for them to confirm everything?”

She went the DMV in August to get a new license with her new name. To this day, she has not received it.

“Last week I called, and you can call the auto line to see how long it’s going to take and they said 96 days for my timeframe and I was like that’s almost three and a half months,” said Nease. “That’s outrageous."

Nease is hardly alone. Tammy Freeman and her family recently moved. Freeman says their attempt to get new licenses with their new address has been incredibly time consuming.

“That’s like how many times since we started this in June,” said Freeman. “I went twice for myself. My son’s been down - three times when he renews goes to renew on his birthday. That’ll be three times. My daughter, she got her license. It’ll expire, she’ll have to renew it, that will be two times for her."

According to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services spokesman Bruce Gordon a combination of an overload of applications and the institution of the new REAL ID system has backlogged processing.

“We would agree that it should be moving faster and that is why we’ve instituted mandatory overtime, and hired additional staff to reduce the processing time,” said Gordon.

Processing time applicants say they hope is reduced quickly.

“It’s just frustrating because this isn’t a new concept,” said Freeman. “We’ve all been moving, and getting new licenses for years and years and years. And now suddenly it’s just taking forever.”

If you applied for a new license before September, you received a yellow piece of paper, which expires after 60 days. For most people it expired before they got their new license, so they'd have to go back in and get it re-stamped. Officials say the papers now expire after 120 days.