Mississippians looking to get their driver's license renewed at license stations should expect to deal with long lines and long wait times. MPB's Jasmine Ellis reports.
It's standing room only at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Jackson. The line is currently to the door as residents wait to receive help getting their licenses renewed. Paul Pybas of Madison says he's already been waiting for two hours to get a new license and expects to be waiting for another two hours before being seen.
"I just moved back from out of state," said Pybas. "I am just trying to get my license and it's ridiculous. I mean anytime you're just sitting around for four or five hours it's irritating. It should be a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes."
One of the reasons for the long wait times is a federal requirement for increased security standards in issuing driver's licenses. And one of the biggest reasons is a severe staffing shortage. Therese Apel is with the Department of Public Safety. She says some employees are making around $21,000 a year and they've asked the legislature for more funding to fill vacant positions for license examiners.
"We're actively always trying to pursue ways to get these lines knocked down," said Apel. "But currently where we are with our funding and our staffing it's just prohibitive. But that doesn't mean there's not a solution in site. It's just that right now this is where we are and we just need some patience and some understanding."
The Department of Public Safety says using online services, the kiosks, and getting to the driver's license bureaus as early as possible might help avoid the long lines.