Pulaski County joining driver licensing transition

Janie Slaven, Commonwealth Journal, Somerset, Ky.
·3 min read

Mar. 25—Pulaski is among the latest nine counties announced Wednesday to make the transition of licensing services from the local circuit court clerk's office to a regional office operated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Joining the county in making the transition next month will be Adair, Breathitt, Floyd, Hopkins, Madison, McCracken, Rowan and Russell. The Office of Circuit Court Clerk in these counties will cease nearly all in-person driver licensing services on Monday, April 26.

Residents are encouraged to renew or apply for a REAL ID — required after October 1 for boarding a U.S. commercial flight, visiting a military base or accessing a federal facility that requires identification — or new standard card version of driver licenses, permits, commercial driver licenses (CDLs) and ID cards at any Transportation Cabinet Driver Licensing Regional Office. Luckily, Pulaski Countians won't have too far to go since one of those offices is located right here in Somerset at Gateway Center on North Main Street.

Other regional offices currently are located in Paducah, Madisonville, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Louisville/Hurstbourne, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Lexington, Burlington, Richmond, Columbia, Jackson, Morehead and Prestonsburg.

Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online, which can be done https://www.drive.ky.gov/RealID/Pages/Schedule.aspx. Walk-in customers are also welcome.

"Kentucky's system for driver license application, issuance and renewal is being taken to the next level with a network of driver licensing regional offices exclusively dedicated to licensing services," KYTC Secretary Jim Gray stated.

What does next level mean? The gradual shift is more than just a change in locations.

"It's a new era for licensing," Secretary Gray said. "With a single agency at the helm of processing credential requests, we'll be able to offer consistent, innovative advancements that take licensing to the next level in Kentucky."

KYTC management of all licensing will include the following advancements: — Online appointment scheduling in addition to walk-in service. — Online license renewal for cardholders who have not had a change in name or address. — A choice between a REAL ID or new standard driver's license. Both feature security upgrades and are available in either a four-year or eight-year card lifespan, potentially doubling the renewal time period. Commercial driver's licenses are only available as eight-year credentials. — A choice to visit any regional office, regardless of where residents live in Kentucky. — Temporary identification document at the end of the transaction until the permanent card arrives at their home address. This reduces the wait time for a card to be printed and boosts security in the card issuance process by eliminating in-office card production machinery.

Fayette, Franklin and Woodford counties are already operating under the new system, which was officially launched by House Bill 453 from the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly and should be phased in statewide by June 30 of next year.

"Over the years our circuit court clerks have done great work to get Kentuckians properly licensed," Gov. Andy Beshear stated. "But the times demand a modernized system that offers convenience and choices to the customer, plus greater security for personal information and the credentials themselves. Our Transportation Cabinet Driver Licensing Regional Offices are uniquely equipped for that."

Even after April 26, the Pulaski Circuit Clerk's Office will briefly continue to process through June 30 remotely submitted applications for renewal or replacement of standard-issue credentials, provided the card expires by that date and the applicant has not had a change of address or change of name and does not require testing performed by the Kentucky State Police.

Remote renewal was a temporary, emergency measure directed by Official Order of Secretary Gray to safeguard public health by limiting person-to-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KSP will continue to oversee all permit and license testing. Appointments for written or road testing can be made online at kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing. Until further notice, testing will continue in current locations for counties being transitioned off license and permit issuance. Once testing is successfully completed, customers can visit any KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office to apply for the permit or license.