Thursday, January 11, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 11, 2001

Shorter lines for driver's licenses reported

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The city’s computer system is back to normal speed after a mad dash by customers last week to renew their driver’s licenses clogged up the system.

The processing of licenses was disrupted last week when too many people tried to have Social Security numbers replaced with random digits.

A new state law to help prevent identity theft took effect Jan. 1 and no longer requires the nine-digit Social Security number to be listed on the driver’s license. A random eight-digit number preceded by the letter "H" is now printed.

The computer program that gives out the random ID numbers slowed down the city’s entire computer system last week, said city Customer Services director Carol Costa.

"Our programmers seemed to have fixed the problem," Costa said.

The huge crowds have diminished this week at the driver’s license renewal sites at Kaneohe, Pearl City, Wahiawa, and Waianae, and at the Fort Street and Windward Mall satellite city halls, she said. But very long lines remain at the City Square renewal site in Kalihi.

Costa said changing a driver’s license is not mandatory, and drivers can wait until their regular renewal date, when a new number will be assigned automatically.

Those wanting to renew their license anyway for security reasons should go to one of the renewal sites before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for faster service, she advised. Renewing an unexpired driver’s license to get a random number costs $5.

"But we’re still asking people to not rush in all at once to get it renewed," she said. "There are people who have to come in because their license will expire, so they are being caught up in these long lines."

The Windward Mall satellite city hall is also open on Saturdays.

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