DPS locations to shut down

Monday, May 5th 2008, 8:01 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

Budget constraints could affect your ability to get a driver's license. The Department of Public Safety is poised to shut down nearly half of its testing centers statewide if the problem isn't fixed.

Several testing sites are already temporarily closed, mostly in rural communities. The people who live there have to drive in some cases more than 100 miles round trip to get a license.

Kenneth Archer drove to Chickasha to get his commercial driver's license.

"I live in Marlow, I go to Duncan to get it, they've closed the station," Archer said. "I come up here to get them. I have to take off work to do it."

Thomas Clark drove from Tuttle just to get an ID.

"It would be a lot more driving, and with gas being the way it is now, it would be a lot more gas money and everything else," Clark said.

A small office in Chickasha is one of 27 slated to be shut down statewide by the Department of Public Safety because DPS does not have the funding to staff the sites.

State Senator Kenneth Corn has introduced legislation to raise the price of driver's licenses by $3.50. The raised price will generate more than $1.8 million to keep the sites open, but his legislation keeps hitting roadblocks in the House.

"I think many members of the House just simply don't think this is what's going to happen," Corn said. "But, with a standstill budget, DPS doesn't have the ability any longer to rob Peter to pay Paul."

If the sites shut down people in the metro will start seeing longer lines and wait times, because those people in Chickasha and other rural areas will have to drive here to get their licenses.

The computer network was down at Department of Motor Vehicle locations statewide Monday and there is no word yet on when the computers will be up and running.