North Carolina driver’s license backlog may soon end, DMV commissioner says

RALEIGH, N.C. — Thousands of North Carolinians waiting to receive their driver’s license could get their new cards by the end of the month, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday.

More than 350,000 physical licenses and identification cards have recently been delayed for up to eight weeks, but the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said during a state House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing that the backlog’s end may be in sight. The department anticipates the backlog to be eliminated before June 30.

People waiting on their new licenses must use a temporary driving certificate, which expires after 60 days. Those who don’t receive their license before the expiration date are advised to call the DMV.

But heated accusations of what caused the significant backlog flared up during the hearing between lawmakers, Goodwin and Lisa Shoemaker, vice president of global corporate relations for IDEMIA, the DMV’s card manufacturer for over 25 years.

A coding error in February impacted about 2,100 cards, which resulted in the card manufacturer pausing production for less than a week, Goodwin said.

When production started again, the DMV had a 12-day backlog for credentials. Since IDEMIA added a second production facility, the backlog has been significantly reduced, Goodwin said.


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But Shoemaker detailed a much different story about the backlog’s origin, saying “the DMV did not act with transparency” throughout the process. The department did not heed IDEMIA’s advice on solutions and did not disclose the root cause of the backlog to the company, she said.

Committee chair Rep. Harry Warren, a Rowan County Republican, said the backlog also impacted people who needed photo IDs to vote in the March 5 primary election.

The department has started transitioning to another manufacturer, CBNSTI in Danville, Virginia. Goodwin said it will not inherit the current backlog.

As part of the transition, the DMV announced last week that a newer, more secure ID card design will be phased in. Goodwin also said that many improvements have been made at the DMV in recent years, such as filling 250 employee vacancies and adding online appointments to skip wait lines.

Goodwin isn’t a stranger to lawmakers’ DMV concerns, as he was previously grilled by Republican legislators on long wait lines earlier this year. A bill has also been introduced in the state that would make several changes to the DMV — among them, making the DMV commissioner a governor-appointed position subject to approval by the Senate.

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