Written tests now required of fewer drivers

The Associated Press

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HUNTERSVILLE — Gov. Pat McCrory says his administration is making it easier for citizens with out-of-state or recently expired North Carolina driver’s licenses to get a new permit.

The governor and transportation officials announced Thursday a policy change that will eliminate the written driving test for most new residents with valid out-of-state licenses now seeking a North Carolina license. Officials also said written tests won’t be required for people with North Carolina licenses expired for less than two years — the previous rule was up to one year.

These applicants will still have to take eye and road sign tests.

“This change is another way (DMV) is driving change, working hard to reduce wait times and help our citizens conduct business more efficiently,” McCrory said in a release as he attended the grand opening of a new DMV office in Huntersville, north of Charlotte.

The announcement comes after the division looked over the past year to study improvements that make getting a driving permit or license plate less of a chore. It’s led to expanded office hours during the week and half-day openings on Saturdays at some locations. More than 41,000 customers have been served on Saturdays alone, McCrory’s office said. There’s also been piloted usage of self-service kiosks and front-desk greeters to help answer customer questions.

The division is also working toward more self-service kiosks, online license renewals for every other licensing cycle for drivers and the acceptance of credit and debit cards at DMV offices in 2015, the governor’s office said.

McCrory said earlier this year he would unveil in 2014 a statewide modernization effort at DMV that would include new technology to improve efficiency. During his 2012 campaign, then-candidate McCrory often discussed in stump speeches having to wait in line for an hour to get his license renewed.