Mary Beth Sallee
Reporter, Hart Co. News-Herald
Changes are coming to Kentucky’s driver license services.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) website, by June 30 of 2022, circuit clerk’s offices across the state will no longer be the place to receive or renew a driver’s license.
All licensing services – including obtaining a state identity card or a learner’s permit and getting or renewing a driver’s license – will gradually move from the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in every county to KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices.
To date, KYTC has driver licensing regional offices throughout the state, including those in Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Columbia, and Somerset.
Locally, the Hart County Circuit Clerk’s Office is preparing for the transition.
“This is a gradual change moving across the state at eight to nine counties at a time,” said Circuit Court Clerk Kayla Rountree. “The last group included neighboring counties Metcalfe County and Green County. We could be next, or we could be months down the road.”
According to the KYTC, this change in licensing services will offer the following advancements:
- Online appointment scheduling with walk-in customers still welcomed.
- Coming soon will be an online license renewal for standard version cardholders who have not had a change in name or address.
- A choice between a REAL ID or a new standard card version. Both are available in either a four-year or eight-year card lifespan. Commercial driver’s licenses are only available as eight-year credentials.
- Residents can visit any regional office of their choice, regardless of where they live within the state.
- Periodic “Popup Driver Licensing” visits will occur in counties without a regional office as a way to offer on-site application and renewal services.
- Applicants will receive a temporary identification document at the end of the transaction until the permanent card arrives at their home address.
Rountree stated that she has not spoken with circuit clerks from other counties regarding this change, and she has yet to receive any concerns from local citizens.
“I’m sure there are concerns. I have concerns,” Rountree said. “But this model was passed through legislation in 2020 and has been in the works for quite some time. Also, I know the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has focused a lot on providing great customer service and to make these changes go as smoothly as possible for everyone…I understand that it will be an inconvenience, but I also know there will be residents that will like the option of online capabilities and the new variety of licenses that will be available.”
As for Rountree herself, she has mixed emotions about the changes.
“I love seeing everyone and helping where we can with licenses, and I love seeing the kids come in, excited about getting their first license/permit,” Rountree said. “We still help our CDL customers locally even though the transportation cabinet has pushed for them to do it on their own or through their employers for quite some time. However, with the Real ID push and other changes, I can see where a centralized location may be needed. For example, with just what we do right now, at least half of the people who come in for a license will end up with us in a phone call to the Department of Transportation for various reasons, and that can take anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes to resolve. When something like that comes up at a regional office, they would have more access and clearance to resolve the problem in a timely manner, so there are definitely pros and cons to the change.”
“I just want to take the opportunity to give everyone a heads up as to what is coming and please know this is out of my hands,” she added.
At this time, the Hart County Circuit Clerk’s Office is renewing licenses remotely unless changes must be made or an individual hold’s a CDL license which would require him/her to come in with supporting documentation.
For those who need to renew with no changes, there is a form that can be picked-up in the Circuit Clerk lobby, or the office can be contacted and the form can be emailed or physically mailed out.
As far as registering to take a permit test or scheduling a road test, the Kentucky State Police who administer the tests have taken over those appointments. These appointments can be scheduled by visiting www.kentuckystatepolice.org.