Governors: Get Ready for Even Longer Waits at DMV

post A consequence of the Real ID Act to make driver licenses more secure â€" beyond its $23 billion estimated cost -- is the fact that it will increase by as much as 75 percent the already painful long waits at states’ departments of motor vehicles, the National Governors Association told the Homeland Security Department in comments it filed on the proposed Real ID rules and regulations.

Since I wished I had packed a lunch for my last excruciating visit to the New Mexico Department of Motor Vehicles (the wait took three hours), I imagine I also will have to pack a light snack too to tide me over through what may turn out to be nearly a five-and-a-half hour process if Real ID remains on the books.

The long wait times will increase because Real ID requires, among other things, that every applicant for a license have a photo taken. Currently, DMVs take photos for licenses only after an applicant is approved. But under Real ID, everyone must have a photo taken whether they are approved for a license or not.

The wait times also will increase because all of the nation’s 242 million licensed drivers will be required to bring multiple documents to prove they are who they say they are. DMV clerks will have to check two utility bills for each applicant, a birth certificate and a passport, if you have one. (The utility bill section may put me in a Real ID limbo. All the utility bills in my household are in the name of my wife, the responsible member of the family.)

Maybe when Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who attached the Real ID Act to a must-pass emergency war supplemental bill two years ago, goes to apply for his new Real ID driver’s license at the Wisconsin DMV, he will encounter just how slow the application process can become.