Saturday, September 20, 2014 · 10:04 p.m.

Drivers' licenses can now be renewed, replaced via kiosks

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Citizens can now renew or replace their drivers' licenses via self-service kiosks located at various places across the state.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced Wednesday that the Driver Services Division will install 40 of these machines, which will renew or replace existing drivers' licenses or state ID cards. Residents' photos will be taken by the machines, and the kiosks perform facial verification with the image on record, officials said. The transaction may be paid for using a debit or credit card.

Citizens leave the kiosk with a paper document that can be used until the actual license or ID card arrives in the mail to the applicant's home, which takes approximately five to seven business days. The interim paper license is valid for 20 days, officials said. 

There is currently only one kiosk available in Hamilton County, but the department will add more locations in the Chattanooga area in the future. 

“We are giving citizens another choice when it comes time to renew or replace their drivers' licenses," Commissioner Bill Gibbons said in a prepared statement. "Many of the kiosks are located at alternate locations, redirecting traffic from our driver service centers and freeing up the staff there for more complicated transactions. Our ultimate goals are better customer service and reducing the average wait time in driver service centers to no more than 20 minutes."

A total of 40 kiosks will be installed and operating statewide by the end of February. Officials said they will be concentrated in areas with larger populations, primarily urban areas. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has partnered with various local governments and several AAA branches to provide alternate locations for the kiosks, so more sites to complete simple renewal services are now available to state residents. However, a few of the kiosks will be installed at driver service centers. 

The kiosks are meant to improve wait times and enhance customer service, but the machines are also meant to ensure higher security in issuing drivers' licenses. In the next few months, the department will begin using a central issuance process in which drivers' licenses will be mailed from a secure central location to the applicant's home. 

The facial verification technology that the machines will use will also cut down on identity crimes, officials said. 

The state purchased the first three kiosks using federal grants for a total of $165,000. The remaining 37 were purchased for $45,000 each using state system development funds. 

The kiosk in Hamilton County is located at the driver service center on Bonny Oaks Drive. 

A complete list of all self-service kiosk locations can be found here.

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