For weeks, the Department of Driver Services Customer Service Centers in Georgia have been turning people away from the counters due to the lack of documentation necessary to apply or renew a driver’s license.
“If you need to renew your license, you now need to come in and with several different things, including proof of ID, residency and social security number,” said Susan Sports.
Applicants must now visit a DDS customer service center upon their next renewal and provide four different documents in order to prove their identity and citizenship.
First, the DDS needs a document proving the applicants identity. Accepted documents include a certified U.S. birth certificate, a valid U.S. Passport, or a certificate of naturalization. Second, the applicant must produce a document containing their social security number. A social security card, w-2 form, or paystub with the complete number will suffice as proof. Finally, the DDS will accept a utility bill, a bank statement, or employer verification as proof of residential address. “Renewing licenses has become a huge pain. They require way too much stuff in my opinion,” said UWG student Chiles Cross.
The Georgia DDS has implemented these new requirements in accordance with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005, a federal legislation intended to deter terrorism by setting standards for acceptable state issued driver’s license or identification card.
“All of this is part of a Federal Security Act. After 9/11, they found out that the terrorists had driver’s licenses from many different states,” said Sports. “When the 9/11 commission looked at the requirements, they made a set list of how to get a legitimate license. Without going through the proper renewal process, the driver’s license will not be recognized by the Federal Government.”
One of the major criticisms of the new requirements is they will hinder certain demographics from renewing or applying for a federally accepted identification card. For example, many college students may have an issue accessing many of their records such as a birth certificate and social security card.
“A lot of us do not have our birth certificate, especially if you live in an apartment or dorm. I have been the victim of a robbery at my house in Carrollton and do not feel comfortable keeping documents like these in my house,” said UWG student Zach Mote.
According to Sports, the DDS has set up alternative methods for these demographics including different options for out of state students and those in assisted living homes.
Privacy of personal records has also become a major criticism of the new regulations. “It is just not right. It is a breach of our privacy and it makes me nervous that they have all of our information stored in one place,” said Mote.
Because the records are stored electronically, the risk of identity theft increases; however, policies have been put in place to help protect individuals with information in the system.
For more information on the new requirements and to learn more about Secure ID visit http://www.dds.ga.gov/secureid/index.aspx.