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Arizonans with driver's licenses expiring in 2020 get year extension

Arizonans with driver's licenses expiring in 2020 get year extension

  • Updated

Gov. Doug

Arizonans whose licenses are set to expire in 2020 will be on the road for another year without having to get a new license or, for seniors, the eye test that goes with it.

Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday extended an earlier executive order that eliminates the need for Arizonans to visit Motor Vehicle Division offices to renew their licenses during the pandemic.

The governor’s order requires all state and local police as well as all government agencies and election officials to accept all driver’s licenses with expiration dates between March 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020 as valid for one year after the printed expiration date.

For most Arizonans, the change should not mean much. Once drivers get a regular license, it lasts until age 65. The only requirement is to get a new picture every 12 years.

At 65, however, things change. New licenses last just five years. And there’s a requirement to get a vision test, which requires an in-person visit.

The extension is added automatically to the driver’s record in the MVD data base, said Doug Nick of the Arizona Department of Transportation.

It becomes part of the Problem Driver Pointer System, used by all motor vehicle agencies and accessible to all law enforcement officers nationwide, he said.

“That means if an Arizona driver who’s had this extension is pulled over in another state, that office would have their accurate license status,” Nick said.

There is an alternate workaround for those who don’t want what appears to be an expired license. Arizonans can apply online for a duplicate driver’s license, which will have the new expiration date. But the cost is $12.

Insurance companies also should have access to the state database to determine who has a valid license, Nick said. But he said if motorists are unsure they should check with their agent or insurer to make sure they have the most current information.

“Avoiding close contact with others, especially for Arizonans 65 or older, remains an important precaution to mitigate COVID-19 impacts,” Ducey said in his executive order.

It hasn’t helped that the outbreak has increased wait times, not only at MVD offices but also just to get through by phone. The most recent report says the average wait time to get into the call center in June was 30 minutes.

There has been another ripple effect from the pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had set an Oct. 1 deadline for people across the nation to get a Real ID-compliant driver’s license — which requires additional documentation — if they want to board commercial aircraft. Those are issued by the Motor Vehicle Division.

But federal officials have deferred the start date for that by a full year, until Oct. 1, 2021, eliminating what could have been a last-minute rush to MVD offices.

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