WAITING on driver licenses

Wednesday, August 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Rush hour traffic, not on the highway, but at the place where drivers first get their license. The two driver testing offices in Tulsa are swamped with business, but relief is not far down the road.

The News on Six's Emory Bryan says most teenagers can't wait to get behind the wheel, but wait they must, in a line to take the test for a license. New driver, Nathan Galwin, "Wait four or five hours, wait in line sometimes they don't get up there at all, have to come back the next day." That's because there is nearly always a line at testing stations, especially in Jenks.

Outside, people wait for the driving test, and inside, a long line waits to take the written. This handful of examiners tested 56,000 drivers last year. Galwin: "I have to do the whole nine yards, the drivers test, the written test everything." Even when there is no line, getting a license with a driving test takes about an hour. But many people are turned away because they don't have the proper paperwork or because their car fails a basic inspection. New driver, Olando Juarez, "And then we forgot to check the front bulb so we've got to go get it fixed and come back here again." Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Lt Gerald Davidson, "They do an inspection on the car and make sure the proper mechanics are working, the brake lights, turn signals, things like that."

Some cars don't pass the inspection and some drivers fail part of the test. They have to come back another day, and wait all over again.” For those who wait till next year, the lines will be a little shorter. Five new examiners start in January, and eventually, the state hopes to open a third office in the Tulsa area. It's bound to be a relief for drivers, who even on slow days have to wait and wait. Once drivers pass the test, they must go to a tag agency to get the actual license.

The Department of Public Safety offers the test at two sites in Tulsa, but several more in outlying communities. For a complete list of testing sites and their hours, CLICK HERE