Drivers license offices could be closing

Published 12:51 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

By Andrew Garner


Two Escambia County driver license offices could be closing after the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced today a phased approach for the closure of the offices throughout the state if the Legislature doesn’t fund the agency.

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During the first two quarters of 2015, ALEA examined the core functions of each legacy agency and determined the driver license system was inefficient and archaic. In July, Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier announced a series of technology-based improvements, which will result in more efficient service and shorter wait times for citizens of the state, including online scheduling, online driver license renewals, self-serve kiosks, digital licensing for smart phones and statewide equipment upgrades, according to ALEA.

“Currently, ALEA maintains 75 Driver License district and field offices across the state but budget allocations do not cover costs and we operate with an $8.2 million deficit,” Collier said. “During the 2015 regular and first special sessions, the legislature proposed general fund budget cuts ranging from 22 percent to 47 percent from ALEA’s fiscal year 2015 appropriation. Should the legislature pass devastating budget cuts, it will be necessary for the Licensing Division to close Driver License district and field offices statewide.”

The driver license office in Brewton will be affected on the first phase of the approach, which will close 33 field offices on Oct. 1, 2015.

Atmore’s driver license office could close during the second phase, which goes in effect on Jan. 1, 2016, which will close district offices, leaving only 12 offices open statewide.

The average drive times to reach an open office for citizens will increase to more than an hour. Current average wait times for services is approximately one-and-a-half hours; with fewer locations, the wait time for services will substantially increase and most functions will require an appointment.