On the Road Again
Beginning May 24, McCreary Residents Must Visit Regional Office for Driver Licensing Needs
By Eugenia Jones
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is moving in a new direction for obtaining a Kentucky driver’s license, permit, or ID card. Effective May 24, the new model requires McCreary Countians to go to a Driver Licensing Regional Office to obtain any Kentucky driver’s license, driving permit, or ID card. The regional office closest to McCreary County is in Somerset, KY; however, a license may be obtained at any of the Kentucky regional offices.
Per KRS 186.490, no later than June 30, 2022, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will have assumed all licensing responsibilities from each of the 120 Circuit Court Clerks. Instead of visiting the Office of Circuit Court Clerk, residents will visit any of the regional offices to apply for or renew driver licenses, permits, commercial driver licenses (CDLs), and ID cards. The offices will offer all in either a standard or REAL ID card. REAL ID versions meet federal requirements to board U. S. commercial flights, enter military bases or enter federal buildings that require ID once REAL ID enforcement starts May 3, 2023.
There are sixteen regional offices across the state (including Somerset, Richmond, Lexington, and Frankfort.)
Circuit court clerks will temporarily continue to process card renewal or replacement requests submitted remotely by standard issue (not REAL ID) cardholders whose credential expires on or before June 30, 2021. This option only applies to applicants who have not had a change of address or name and do not require driver testing performed by the Kentucky State Police.
Kentucky State Police will still do all permit and driver license testing for McCreary residents at the current testing locations. Information on how to schedule a written or driving test is available at kentuckstatepolic.org/driver-testing.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the change will improve services and provide more choices to people on how they want to be served. The Transportation Cabinet lists the following as benefits to regional offices:
• Enables individuals to book an appointment but still permits walk-ins.
• In the near future, license can be renewed on-line if name or address has not changed.
• Regional offices will allow a choice between standard and REAL ID licenses.
• These offices will only handle licensing which will allow for better service.
• There will be periodic “Popup Driver Licensing” visits (e.g. mobile vans) in counties without regional offices to offer on-site application and renewal services.
• New versions of the license/ID card offer better security.
According to McCreary County’s State Representative, Kenneth Upchurch, really became an issue when the federal government mandated the REAL ID. According to Upchurch, all licensing of drivers must fall under one issuing agency.
“This had to be done mainly because of the Federal mandate for REAL ID,” Upchurch said. “With circuit clerks not taking on the responsibility for issuing REAL IDs and licensing actually falling within the duties of the Transportation Cabinet, regional offices were really the only way we could go. Eventually, folks will be able to renew licenses on-line, and there will be mobile offices periodically visiting counties for those who don’t want to go to a regional office.”