Kansas drivers have to do it every fourth birthday
If you've been driving in Lawrence for the past four years, the chances are good you've been to the National Guard Armory at Second Street and McDonald Drive.
"At least once, anyway," said Kathryn Johnson, who runs the local office of the state's driver's license examination center at the armory. "I get to see everybody in town."
Johnson's office, part of the Kansas Department of Revenue's division of vehicles, is open from 7 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Filled with chairs and school desks, the office gets about 150 to 180 people a day.
"We've had more than 200 people a day on a busy Friday or a Tuesday," Johnson said. "We get beginners, we have students in drivers ed, we have renewals, we have people transferring in from out of state and we issue state ID cards."
Kansas drivers must renew their drivers license once every four years, with the license expiring on their birthday. And to speed up the renewal, the state mails them the paperwork at least 30 days before their license expires.
"It takes about 10 minutes for a renewal if you have your test filled out before you come in," she said. "The state mails you out the renewal forms and you already have that filled out. We check your record, check your eyes, have you sign an application, collect the fees and take your picture."
The state is changing license numbers. Drivers can either get a randomly generated nine-digit number or use their Social Security number.
If they renew, they must take a 36-question, open book test.
Drivers from out of state who want a Kansas drivers license take a 22-question closed book test. Up to four questions can be missed to get a passing grade.
After turning in the test, paying their fees and getting their eye test, drivers wait their turn to get the license.
First they are told to sign a large card with a special stylus, connected a computer screen. Then they are told to sit in a chair in front of a video camera, which projects their image onto the computer screen. The examiner then snaps their picture, and a few minutes later, the license is ready with their photo and signature.
Under the state's new motor voter law, people are asked whether they want to register to vote while renewing their license, she said.
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