Regional driver testing starts in Owensboro, Madisonville

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) More than two years after the first regional drivers license office in Kentucky in Frankfort, driver testing now moves in to some of those same offices in Owensboro and Madisonville.
It happens as the state looks to add more regional offices.

“He did his drivers test here in Owensboro,” said Connie Henry, whose grandson got his drivers test at the old office, and drove from Hawesville to the regional office to get his license.

“It is inconvenient because some people, they only need ID and not licenses, and they don’t drive,” she said, worried about the impact of regional offices on those who don’t drive.

The Owensboro office on Kentucky 81 and Madisonville office on Federal Street, started hosting driving tests run by KSP today. The latest step in the state’s condensing drivers license renewal and testing from county offices, making what Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Cole says is a more efficient process.

“We had 141 locations across the state, and while some of the bigger counties and bigger towns had that constant line and that constant flow in those offices, in the smaller counties, some of them were issuing not many credentials at all,” Cole says.

He adds moving driving testing to regional offices is also due to not enough open hours under the old format.

“A lot of these smaller counties were getting a half a day a week at best, and a lot of those were being maxed out,” he says.

Regional offices opened as part of the state’s effort to issue real ids. About three hundred thousand, issued so far. Cole says they plan to add eleven more offices by the end of June next year, which some drivers hope is closer to their homes.

“It’s hard to find a place like that. But they did say within the next year or so, Henderson will get an office down there, so we may not have to wait very long,” says Cathy Heard of Henderson.

Cole also says they’re working on adding mail in renewals and pop up mobile units in counties without a regional office.

(This story was originally published on September 27, 2021)

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