Department of Safety & Homeland Security Releases First Quarter Report on Driver Service Center Wait Times
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today released a report on the performance of its Driver Services Division during the first quarter of 2013.
For the first quarter, the average wait time at state driver service centers increased from the fourth quarter of 2012. The average wait time in the first quarter of 2013 was nearly 32 minutes, compared to 26 minutes in the fourth quarter of 2012. The number of statewide transactions increased from 295,444 in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 327,114 in the first quarter of 2013.
However, the average wait time for the first quarter of 2013 decreased slightly from the first quarter of 2012, when the average wait time was near 33 minutes.
“We are committed to reducing wait times at our driver service centers. We are concerned about the uptick in wait times, especially after making such great progress in the last three months of 2012. But, we are taking proactive steps to help reverse this trend and help create a more satisfying experience for our customers,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
Gibbons attributed the increase in the first quarter of this year compared to the last quarter of 2012 to a number of factors, including a very significant increase in handgun permit applications, vacant management positions at a number of driver services centers, and equipment failures.
In March 2013 alone, the Department accepted 16,951 handgun carry permit applications at driver services centers, compared to the 8,166 accepted in March 2012. That is an increase of 108 percent.
The Department is also installing new equipment and software at all centers as it prepares to start a new central issuance process of issuing driver licenses. While this new process should eventually help reduce wait times, it has currently caused some increase as the department has experienced equipment failures in certain centers. This issue is being addressed with staff and the vendor.
The Driver Services Division will hire in July additional part-time employees to help the centers at peak hours. Funding for the positions was appropriated in the Governor’s recently passed budget. The Department also plans to launch a marketing campaign to help increase public awareness about alternate locations and ways to renew driver licenses.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to ensure that our state is a safe, secure place in which to live, work and travel; enforce the law with integrity; and provide customer-focused services professionally and efficiently.