New California driver’s licenses driving people crazy with delays

Jan 19, 2011

“New and improved” always comes with a hitch, and this time, it’s the new California’s driver’s license. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says the new license—with its raised signatures and California icons—is more expensive and more secure. That’s because they’re harder for scammers to counterfeit, but they’re also more complicated for manufacturers to make and make correctly the first time; early renewals found themselves waiting up to six weeks. The DMV has a five-year, $63-million contract with Connecticut-based vendor L-1 Solutions, which has struggled to produce correct color accuracy and the raised lettering and positions of state icons like Yosemite’s El Capitan and the Golden Gate Bridge — up to 80% of the cards in early batches were returned with errors. That doesn’t bode well for an agency that produces more than 8.25 million licenses and ID cards annually, sometimes up to 40,000 per day. The DMV promises they’re curbing the wait, but with the cost, manufacturing delays, and furloughs, is it worth the upgrade, and how can you avoid the lines?

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