Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Driver License Division has been working hard to serve the citizens of the state of Alabama despite limited in-person operations.
The division was forced to close its offices to the public on Friday, March 27, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Kay Ivey issued a Safer at Home Order, ALEA’s Driver License Division began a “soft opening” at 13 locations across the state on Monday, May 4. In weeks that followed, the agency gradually reopened other offices. By Monday, June 29, 95% (69 of its 73 locations) will be open to the public.
“We meticulously and strategically developed a plan to reopen our Driver License offices to avoid putting anyone at risk during this precarious time. The absolute last thing we wanted was to contribute to the spread of the coronavirus,” ALEA’s Secretary Hal Taylor said. “In addition, ALEA’s Driver License Division is striving to alleviate the accumulation of a COVID-19-related backlog, and it will continue to utilize new and innovative procedures to reduce the congestion at Driver License offices throughout the state.”
Since the soft opening in early May, 66,244 customers have received face-to-face service in Driver License offices, and 98,167 online customers were served between March 16 and June 19. ALEA saw a significant increase in online transactions, whereas, in 2019, only 33,337 were served.
On Monday, June 2, the agency resumed Class D Road/Skills tests on a limited basis. Between June 2 and June 19, 5,544 road tests were completed, which is an increase of 115% as compared to the same period in 2019. Currently, Driver License personnel have administered 6,922 Class D Road/Skills tests for regular driver licenses and 706 Commercial Driver License Skills tests. Another 8,000 customers have been served through ALEA’s partnership with the Alabama State Department of Education. This partnership helped streamline the Yellow Card/Vessel License process for 16-year-old students who pass the required road test with an instructor. The State Department of Education also has resumed Drivers Education programs to allow students to catch up from the spring semester.
“We continue to ask everyone in need of Driver License services to adhere to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s guidelines and use masks during visits to Driver License locations,” Taylor added. “It is important we all follow guidelines to curb the spread of the virus.”