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Third time’s the charm for license renewal
by Angela Spencer
Columnist
August 09, 2012 05:35 PM | 5630 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Angela Spencer
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Waking up at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday is not my idea of fun, but it’s necessary to take certain precautions when going to the Georgia Department of Driver Services right after the rules change.

This, in fact, was my third attempt to change my name and address on my driver’s license. I was not up for a renewal for a couple years but I got married and moved earlier this year and needed my license to reflect these changes. The dreaded trip to change my driver’s license was the final outing in my post-honeymoon name-changing adventures. My visit to the Social Security office was relatively painless, changing my address with the United States Postal Service took about five minutes online and most other things could be changed with a phone call.

Not so with the Department of Driver Services.

My first attempt to change my driver’s license was actually the Saturday before the rules changed. My husband — who is from Arkansas and needed his Georgia license — and I woke up early and arrived at the Norcross office right as they opened at 7:30 a.m., thinking we’d get lucky and have him to work in Johns Creek by 9:30. When we arrived the line was wrapped around the building and the man in front of us estimated about 300 people already in front of us.

Strike one for the Spencers.

My next attempt was July 10. I had time in the middle of the day and made my way to the Cumming office, which I heard was better about getting people through the line.

I walked up to the check-in counter at 1:45 p.m. and was promptly told no one would be able to help me — they were at capacity already and their wait was already reaching the 6 p.m. closing time. That’s alright, I suppose, considering despite my two calls to the department and several visits to the website I didn’t have all my documents in order. A confirmation of a change of address from the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t count as one of the approved items to prove your address.

Strike two.

My husband got lucky and got his license that Thursday — his day off — and told me he only had to wait about two hours at the Sandy Springs office. That Friday night I set my alarm, made sure I had all my documents - including a letter from my employer taking the place of my letter from the U.S. Postal Service proving where I lived - and went to bed hoping I wouldn’t hit snooze and miss another opportunity to get my license changed.

I suppose third time’s the charm because it was this visit that was successful.

Granted, I arrived 40 minutes before they opened and was already behind 75 people, but I had my documents in order and a good book to keep my company. DDS employees came out 20 minutes before they opened making sure everyone had appropriate documents and answered questions, and when the doors opened they moved the line quickly.

Saturday mornings are rarely fun to work, so I tried to greet those helping me with a smile and I was always greeted back with helpful — yet quick and efficient — answers.

By 8:30 a.m. I was walking out of there with my temporary license.

I got home in time to say goodbye to my husband as he headed to work before I fell back into bed.

Hopefully wait times have died down in the days since I got my renewal, but it is probably still wise to arrive early.

Being prepared, arriving early and attempting to be pleasant seem to be the best way to make it through the DDS.
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