North Carolina driver's license law changed

| 8/29/2006

Gov. Mike Easley has signed a bill into law that stretches the length of driving privileges for many North Carolina residents and is intended to guard against identity theft.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2007, allows drivers between the ages of 18 to 53 to renew their licenses for eight-year terms. The current renewal period is five years.

Young drivers’ licenses will expire on their 21st birthday. Older drivers will continue to renew their licenses every five years.

Another provision in the new law, previously HB267, allows all applicants for new driver’s licenses to get their permanent licenses by mail. Currently, licenses must be picked up from local Division of Motor Vehicles offices.

As of July 2008, all licenses and permits will be generated at a central location.

Drivers will use temporary licenses during the 20-day renewal period, The Associated Press reported. The new rule is intended to give DMV officials more time to determine whether individuals are trying to generate false identifications or steal someone’s identity.

Lawmakers opted to remove a provision that would have allowed drivers to renew their licenses on the Internet.

A bill still awaiting Easley’s signature also is intended to thwart identity theft. The measure would require residents in the state to provide a Social Security number to get a driver’s license.

The bill, SB602, would change the state’s license law to say the DMV cannot issue a driver’s license unless the applicant provides a valid Social Security number, The AP reported.

Anyone unable to provide a Social Security number can still get a license as long as they provide a taxpayer identification number.