Feds delay Real ID deadline: No time for long lines at MVC
President Donald Trump's administration has formally pushed back the 1 Real ID driver’s license deadline because of the COVID-19 health emergency.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Thursday morning it would give states another year, to Oct. 1, 2021, to have REAL ID-compliant licensing systems in place. REAL ID licenses will eventually be required to board commercial flights and enter federal government buildings.
Note: An earlier version of this story was published before the delay was made official, though an announcement was expected shortly.
The head of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission supports the delay.
MVC chief administrator Sue Fulton told New Jersey 101.5 shortly before the delay was announced that because a lot of drivers in New Jersey want to get one and “we’ve got a lot to do in a short period of time, like all other states do, and you’re creating crowds. It’s absolutely the wrong thing to do at this point in time.”
She said earlier this month, when agency offices were still open, there were enormous crowds and a record number of Real IDs were being issued but “we cannot have crowds like that together during a pandemic. The health of our people takes priority.”
MVC offices remain closed until further notice but the agency is continuing its online operations at njmvc.gov.
She said skeleton crews are working on all sorts of things inside MVC offices, including “processing restoration of suspensions with people at desks that are staggered so that they’re 10 feet apart, or at least 6 feet apart.
Fulton noted the MVC is also working to make sure commercial drivers and vehicles stay on the road because the demand for supplies is going up.
She also said during the shutdown all MVC offices are being thoroughly cleaned.
“Not just thorough cleaning from the standpoint of COVID-19, but also making minor repairs and in some cases making major repairs," she said.
Fulton said the MVC continues to look at shifting as many transactions as possible online, to make it easier for everyone to conduct motor vehicle business. But some transactions require MVC employees to examine documents in person.
Once the novel coronavirus emergency is over, how long will it take for the MVC to get back to normal?
“We can’t know that everyone is going to be healthy all at once, that everyone is going to be able to continue to work," she said. "All we can do is prepare as best we can.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com