Ohio County to transition away from issuing driver's licenses beginning Oct. 25

·4 min read

Oct. 1—Ohio County will join 10 other counties in ceasing its driver's testing and licensure practice beginning Oct. 25.

The traditional system of issuing driver's licenses and permits at Kentucky offices of circuit court clerks in each county is being phased out to prepare for the statewide transition to Real IDs. Following this transition, licenses will be issued from 19 regional offices across the state.

Real IDs came about through the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, it took years for states to pass and implement the federal law.

Without a REAL ID, citizens will not be allowed to fly or enter federal buildings that require Real IDs. Other forms of compliant Real IDs include a U.S. passport, a U.S. Department of Defense issued ID or a Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler card.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is also planning to open more regional offices, as well, with a deadline for all circuit court clerks to complete this transition by June 30, 2022. The official date for all citizens to have a Real ID has changed multiple times. The current national deadline is May 2023.

In a press release sent by the transportation cabinet, Gov. Andy Beshear called this move a "new era of driver licensing in Kentucky."

"We are using technology to offer more service options than ever before, such as online appointment scheduling, online license renewal and, beginning in October, mail-in renewal," Beshear said.

Bess Daugherty, Ohio County Circuit Court chief deputy clerk, said Oct. 5 is the last day the office will be issuing permits, and Oct. 22 is its last day for issuing driver's licenses.

After that, residents will have to go through a KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office. Currently, the closest regional offices are located in Owensboro, Madisonville, Bowling Green and Elizabethtown. Other offices are located in Burlington, Catlettsburg, Columbia, Frankfort, Jackson, Lexington, Louisville/Bowman Field, Louisville/Dixie Highway, Louisville/Hurtsbourne, Manchester, Morehead, Paducah, Prestonburg, Richmond, and Somerset.

On Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 the Ohio County Circuit Clerk's Office will allow for road testing for licenses, and those two days have been "pretty much booked," Daugherty said.

"However, if someone wants to set up an appointment for a road test, they can give us a call," she said. "A lot of times we will have some cancellations the day of, and anyone is always welcome to give us a call and see if we can get them in."

Permit testing requires no appointment and can be done from 8 to 11 a.m.

Daugherty said she knows change can be hard for some people, and the transition away from permits and driver's licenses in Ohio County will take some getting used to. She hopes the community can see some of the benefits of Real IDs and the regional testing offices.

For example, she said, the Ohio County Circuit Court Clerk's Office typically was only able to offer road tests one day a week. The Regional Driver Licensing Office at the Daviess County Operations Center will be offering road tests five days a week.

"There will also be other options other than going to Daviess County or a different regional office," she said. "Once this is in place, you can go to any regional office across the state, when before you always had to do it in the county you reside in."

She also said there will be options for online and mail-in driver's license renewal, which will also be a benefit to the community.

The other nine counties that will be making the transition away from driver's licensure on Oct. 25 are Barren, Carroll, Clay, Gallatin, Greenup, Leslie, Lewis, Lincoln and Simpson counties.

For more information about Real IDs, or to make an appointment with any regional office, visit drive.ky.gov, and for information about driver's license renewal, visit dlrenewal.ky.gov.

The Kentucky State Police will continue to administer all permit and license testing. Testing services are offered Monday through Friday by appointment. Applicants who require testing by KSP for a permit, driver license or CDL may make an appointment online by visiting http:// kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing/.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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