Simpson County and nine other Kentucky counties are making the transition in October to a new, secure driver-licensing model, administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), that gives Kentuckians more choices and modern services.

The final day driver’s license services will be available in Simpson County is Oct. 22. To make a driver’s license appointment in Simpson County until Oct. 22 go on line to kycourts.gov.

The traditional issuance system of licenses and permits initiated at the office of circuit court clerk in each county is being phased out and replaced by a network of KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices across the state.

After Oct. 22 Simpson County residents will have to go to any regional office for a driver’s license.

The closest KYTC regional office to Simpson County is the Warren County Regional Office at 360 East 8th Avenue, Suite 111 in Bowling Green. The office is in the same building as Mariah’s restaurant next to Bowling Green Ballpark in downtown Bowling Green.

To schedule an appointment at a regional office, such as the Warren County office, go on line to drive.ky.gov. Walk-in customers will be served on a first-come, first served basis.

KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices are open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only debit and credit cards are accepted at most regional offices this time.

KYTC and Kentucky’s circuit court clerks are working together to smoothly complete the transition statewide by June 30, 2022.

“It’s a new era of driver licensing in Kentucky,” Governor Andy Beshear said in a press release. “We are using technology to offer more service options than ever before, such as online appointment scheduling, online license renewal and, beginning in October, mail-in renewal. After many years of issuing driver licenses, circuit court clerks will be able to focus solely on court business, and driver licensing will be executed at new regional offices whose only business is licensing.”

Residents of counties making the transition may renew or apply for a REAL ID or new standard card version of driver license, learner permit, commercial driver license (CDL) or ID card at any KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office. Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online, which can be done at drive.ky.gov | Regional Offices Map. Walk-in customers are welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis until available slots are filled.

More than 30,000 Kentuckians needing to renew their current license have skipped a trip to an office by renewing online — a new service available to Kentuckians whose name and address have not changed. Visit www.DLrenewal.ky.gov for more information.

KYTC regional offices are the only place where Kentuckians can get a REAL ID.

“The reason for this change is after 911 occurred (Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) the Department of Homeland Security decided that all states needed a credential that would allow people to fly, to serve as an ID, to serve as a driver’s license, to enter military bases,” Simpson Circuit Court Clerk Beth Fiss said during a recent interview on WFKN. “ This new credential, all 50 states will be the same, and they will be required to fly domestically. Actually Kentucky is one of the last to comply.

This whole transition has been a lot of work for Kentucky because the circuit clerks have been issuing drivers license for so long and then to make this transition….its just been a huge undertaking. Where as other states already had the department of transportation issuing their license, so it wasn’t as big of a deal for those states.”

Driver Testing

Kentucky State Police will continue to administer all permit and license testing. Testing services are offered Monday through Friday by appointment. Applicants who require testing by KSP for a permit, driver license or CDL may make an appointment online by visiting http://kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing/.

Driver’s testing is no longer conducted in Simpson County.

Next Level Licensing

The transition to a new model for license issuance is more than a change of office locations. “Our regional offices also offer a more secure issuance process and upgraded card security features to curb fraud,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said.

Driver Licensing Regional Offices will offer the following:

• Online appointment scheduling. Walk-in customers are still welcome.

• A choice between a REAL ID and a new standard card version. Both feature security upgrades and are available with a choice of four-year or eight-year expiration. (Eight years for all CDLs.)

• Service at ANY regional office, regardless of customer’s county of residence.

• Periodic “Pop-up Driver Licensing” visits to counties without a regional office to offer on-site application and renewal services.

License applicants receive a temporary identification document at the end of the transaction for use until the permanent card arrives by mail at their home address. This reduces the wait time for printing credentials during visits and improves security by eliminating in-office card production machinery.

Transition of licensing services was launched with passage of House Bill 453 during the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly.

REAL ID

Kentucky will continue offering the option of a standard driver’s license, but a REAL ID or other form of federally approved identification, such as a passport or military ID, eventually will be needed by people 18 and older for boarding commercial flights and accessing military bases and federal buildings that currently require identification. Enforcement is scheduled to begin May 3, 2023.

First-time application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Licensing Regional office. Specific documentation is required. A list of acceptable documentation and a link to take an interactive quiz that populates a personalized list of documents is available at drive.ky.gov | IDocument Guide.

Information for this story was provided by press releases from Governor Andy Beshear’s office and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office and an interview with Simpson Circuit Court Clerk Beth Fiss.

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