Measure to address license backlog at tag agencies passes
Mike Seals - April 12, 2021 10:10 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate gave final approval Monday to legislation that will help speed up the process of issuing and renewing commercial driver licenses (CDLs) in Oklahoma. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, is the principal Senate author of House Bill 1059 that she says addresses numerous problems that are bogging down tag agents and will bring the state in line with federal law.
“House Bill 1059 introduces several changes to help make the process of getting or renewing REAL ID compliant and non-compliant licenses, especially CDLs, more efficient by allowing tag agencies to process them rather than just the Department of Public Safety (DPS). This will help companies and industries get more drivers on the road while also reducing the number of people standing in lines at DPS,” Garvin said. “The pandemic and introducing REAL IDs have created a perfect storm that has overwhelmed DPS and tag agencies. These changes will help address some of the issues and help get licenses processed faster.”
HB 1059 removes provisions that currently allow commercial learner permit holders to take a CDL knowledge and skills test without training. This change reconciles state statute with federal law set to go into effect in 2022. The measure also authorizes local tag agencies to issue renewals, replacements, change of addresses, and downgrades of REAL ID compliant and non-compliant Class A, B or C licenses, making the process more efficient for customers. It authorizes agents to review identification documents for REAL ID compliant and non-compliant CDL’s. The bill further allows agents to issue a REAL ID compliant and non-compliant ID card to a customer even if their license is expired or suspended as long as they have an existing DPS driver license file. Currently, the requesting person must have a valid unexpired license to get an ID from an agent. Third Party Examiners (non-DPS CDL examiners) will be allowed to test anyone with a CDL permit whereas currently they can only administer drive tests to their own students. Finally, the bill removes the cap on fees designated examiners may charge to administer a Class D skills test.
The measure, by Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow, has the support of DPS and the State Chamber. It now goes to the governor’s desk for his final approval.