As driver licensing issuance transitioned to regional offices at the end of June, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has been busy rolling out new, modern conveniences and more card options, said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray.
The department has “delivered its fair share of big, bold and transformative infrastructure projects over the years,” and the new transition shifts this service from a decentralized model in each county, he said.
“The move can be traced back to the passage of the federal REAL ID Act prompted by the 9/11 attacks that involved fraudulent licenses. The Act introduced strict application and security requirements for states to offer new REAL ID license versions to curb fraud,” Gray said.
Gray explained most circuit court clerks had been in support of KYTC assuming the responsibility of the REAL ID issuances and other functions that would allow them to focus more on court duties. He added in a recent press release that the shift required a number of things, including new office spaces, the hiring and training of staff and upgrades to the licensing itself.
“The Transportation Cabinet introduced new service options to reduce the number of trips to a regional office, like online and mail-in renewal, plus the choice of an eight-year credential,” he said. “In counties without a regional office, Popup Driver Licensing staff will make periodic visits based on the county population to bring licensing services to communities. By the end of August, at least one visit will have been made to every eligible county.”
Kentuckians can visit any regional office location, regardless of where they live, to request, renew or replace credentials, he said.
“While all driver testing will continue to be scheduled with and conducted by Kentucky State Police, they now have a presence at most regional offices.”
There are currently 31 regional offices across the state, with some locations expected to be moved to a permanent site within the same city, Gray said. Although it is a significant change, Gray encouraged Kentucky residents to familiarize themselves with the services offered in-person, online and by mail by visiting drive.ky.gov.
“Also, be sure you’re REAL ID ready by visiting realidky.com. Starting May 3, 2023, you’ll need a REAL ID license or another form of federally-accepted ID, like a passport, to use at airport security checkpoints, military bases or federal buildings that require ID (like the White House).
“With the REAL ID enforcement deadline less than one year away and a legislative charge to complete the transition by the end of June, our goal was to expand access as soon as possible. We understand this is a significant change for Kentuckians. That’s why licensing is our only business at regional offices, and we’re committed to fine-tuning the process to make the licensing experience a positive one,” he said.