Get in line now. California’s DMV is really, really behind in issuing Real IDs

Friday, February 7, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

California is falling perilously short of its targets for issuing Real IDs and will have to more than double the number issued each month to reach the millions of drivers still without the federally required identification card before an Oct. 1 deadline, officials said Thursday.

With eight months to go, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has issued Real IDs to just 25% of California’s 27 million drivers since it began providing the new licenses in January 2018. The DMV would have to issue at least 1.1 million Real IDs each month to get them to all licensed drivers expected to apply for one by October.

The problem took on new urgency on Thursday when the DMV reported issuing an estimated 381,570 Real IDs in January, a drop from the number issued in each of the previous six months, including December’s total of 485,000 cards.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who has held hearings on the Real ID crush as chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said it was “disappointing to see the Real ID numbers trend down last month.”

“We are less than eight months away from the Oct. 1 start date, and I remain worried we’ll see an uptick in wait times, especially as we get closer to summer when the added resources we’ve given DMV will be put to the test,” Ting said.

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