The North Carolina Department of Division of Motor Vehicles is extending its walk-in hours and implementing new website features to lower its average wait times.
NC Driver’s license offices will now only serve walk-in customers from noon until close at 5 p.m. on weekdays. Appointments will also now only be available during mornings and with up to 90 days of anticipation using the NC DMV’s appointment scheduler.
Forty offices across the state already have started opening at 7 a.m. to provide services, and the 16 busiest offices have started offering Saturday walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through Aug. 26, 2023.
The 16 locations opening up on Saturdays this Summer during the peak season include: Asheville, Charlotte-University City, Charlotte South, Fayetteville West, Greensboro East, Greensboro West, Greenville, Hudson, Huntersville, Jacksonville, Monroe, Morganton, Raleigh North, Raleigh West, Wilmington South, and Winston-Salem South.
Another part of NC DMV’s initiative to lower wait times at offices comes from their office locations page. A new feature is now available that allows people to view the current average wait time for their driver’s license office past noon and during weekdays. This new feature is meant to allow prospective visitors to choose whether to visit the DMV or opt to put their visit off.
DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said in the press statement that he is “very excited about this new tool that will show customers the walk-in wait time at driver’s license offices so they can make an informed decision on which office to go to, or whether to try again another day . . . This tool will be most useful in the afternoon when our 115 driver’s license offices are serving walk-ins only.”
Lastly, since May 1, driver’s license offices have only taken walk-in customers after noon; another policy change made to lower prospective wait times for walk-in visitors.
Teen driver law takes effect
In other recent DMV policy events, last month, the limited provisional license modification bill otherwise called S.B 157 became law after Gov. Roy Cooper let it become law without his signature.
The bill became law on May 6 and shortened the time between learner’s permit holders could obtain a limited provisional license from 12 months to now only 6 months. Sen. Vickie Sawyer, R-Iredell, the bill’s primary sponsor, said the new law brings North Carolina more closely into line with rules in surrounding states.
The previous 12-month time period was in effect for the last 25 years, but was briefly shortened to 6 months during the COVID-19 pandemic but was re-instituted at the end of 2022. According to the bill, the new six month provision will only last until Jan. 1, 2024, when it will permanently be changed to nine months.
The other major change included in the bill was that it allows teen drivers to transport an additional passenger under limited circumstances. Current state law allows for the teen driver to transport only one passenger under age 21 who is not an immediate family member. If the driver is transporting any family member under age 21, no additional passengers are allowed.
S.B. 157 changes that by allowing the teen driver to exceed the old limit if a single additional passenger under age 21 is not a family member but “is a student being driven directly to or from school.”
This article was updated on June 20, 2023 at 2pm to reflect that the DMV’s 16 busiest offices have started offering Saturday walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. through Aug. 26, 2023, not August 14.