License kiosk program expands

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Michael Tollison cleared his schedule to get his driver’s license renewed on Tuesday, but he was in and out in less than five minutes.
Tollison used one of the new renewal kiosks, which were first available through a pilot program in December. Seven kiosks were placed in driver’s services offices throughout the state to cut down on long lines and wait times.
After eight months and high usage of the machines, 25 new kiosks will be placed at the rest of the driver’s services offices throughout the state, including Union, Lafayette and Oktibbeha counties.
“These kiosks are for the convenience of the motorists,” said Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Simpson. “We want people to be able to go and get their licenses renewed in a timely manner. We have always had problems with long lines at our driver’s services offices, so we needed to find a way to relieve that.”
More than 600,000 Mississippians renew their licenses every year and since December, more than 20 percent of those people have used the kiosks to do so. Tollison said he had no idea the kiosk machines existed.
“I was more than prepared for at least an hour wait,” said Tollison. “I dread coming up here because the lines are usually so long. The people who work here are nice but the lines are usually terrible. It may have cost me $3 more to get my license renewed but it was worth me spending two hours less time getting it.”
A normal license renewal is $22 but it costs $25 at the kiosk. That $3 charge is how the machines are paid for, according to Simpson. The state doesn’t have to pay a dime for the machines. The vendor, L1 Identity Solutions, builds and supplies the machines.
The kiosks currently are only in driver’s services buildings, but Simpson said he wants to have at least 100 machines throughout the state in places frequented by the public.
“We want to put them in malls, courthouses, universities and other places that people can easily access them,” said Simpson.
Another step the Department of Public Safety has made to save time and money was putting driver’s manuals online. Now when people want to study for their driver’s license exam, they can go to http://www.dps.state.ms.us/dps/dps.nsf.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.