By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Mississippi drivers still can get their licenses renewed or replaced at satellite offices that are open part time at various spots across the state.
Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said because of modernization efforts, testing for new applicants for driver’s licenses will not be conducted at the offices that are open part time – generally in rural counties.
“If you need a renewal, you can get that done” at the satellite office, Strain said. “If you lose your driver’s license, you can get a replacement.
“They (Public Safety travel team members) will be there as they are scheduled to be there.”
The testing for new driving applicants is going to be temporarily halted at the satellite offices to update the Department of Public Safety computer system. The modernization is scheduled to be completed by fall 2015. It is not clear when testing at the satellite offices will resume.
Meanwhile, 30 regular, full-time locations will be open across the state for testing and other needs. Those offices include Tupelo, New Albany, Corinth, Oxford and Starkville in Northeast Mississippi. The addresses for those locations and the other permanent locations can be found at www.dps.state.ms.us.
Nineteen part-time locations where testing will not be done include Booneville, Burnsville, Pontotoc, Amory and West Point in Northeast Mississippi.
The issue of locations to obtain driver’s license has been of interest to Northeast Mississippi legislators who played a key role in pushing through legislation in the 2013 session requiring Public Safety to have a part-time location in every county seat where a request is made by the board of supervisors.
Various Northeast Mississippi legislators, including Sens. Russell Jolly, D-Houston, and J.P. Wilemon, D-Belmont, said their constituents have complained about the long distances they have to travel to obtain a driver’s license.
Strain said if the supervisors want a part-time office in their county they must provide Public Safety a location and other infrastructure needs, such as a high-speed line for computer hookups.
That legislation was pushed by Northeast Mississippi legislators because there are no examiners in the counties of Chickasaw, Itawamba, Benton, Marshall and Calhoun.