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Extending license renewal period offers double benefit

Feb. 26, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

Legislation passed by the West Virginia Senate on Monday combines more convenience for the state’s residents and money savings for state government.

Those are both pluses that make Senate Bill 431 worthy of passage by the state’s House of Delegates.

The measure would lengthen the renewal cycle for West Virginia driver’s licenses from the current five­year requirement to eight years. That, of course, means that motorists won’t have to worry about making a trip to a Division of Motor Vehicles as often to renew their licenses. The longer renewal time also means lower costs because staff in the DMV offices will have a reduced workload. DMV Commissioner Steve Dale says about 270,000 drivers visit DMV offic­es to renew their licenses annually. The switch to an eight-year renewal cycle would drop that to an estimated 150,000 visits a year.

There’s another aspect to the legislation that could reduce that number even further. The bill allows the DMV to establish a web-based renewal process that would allow a motorist to renew his or her license via the Internet once before having to visit a DMV office. That means a driver wouldn’t have to make the trip to the DMV office for a license renewal but once every 16 years.

Once that web-based alternative is in place, Dale estimates, the number of license-renewal visits to DMV offices would decline 30,000 more. Cutting the number of annual visitors to DMV offices by more than half eventually would allow a reduction of 19 full-time positions and yield a savings in salaries and benefits of about $560,000.

The legislation makes sense and should be made law.



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