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Motorists gain extended reprieve on renewing driver's licenses, vehicle inspections
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Motorists gain extended reprieve on renewing driver's licenses, vehicle inspections

Motorists gain extended reprieve on renewing driver's licenses, vehicle inspections

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North Carolina motorists have gained an optional indefinite reprieve from renewing their driver’s licenses, vehicle inspections and registrations, and other credentialed permits.

House Bill 1105 extends — essentially for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic — a reprieve initially approved by the legislature on May 2.

Drivers and vehicle owners can continue to pay for those credentials as they come due.

There has been public concern about getting those credentials renewed while respecting social-distancing guidelines.

People typically encounter long lines when trying to renew a driver’s license at a state Division of Motor Vehicles office, or pay for registration renewal and vehicle property taxes.

Senate Bill 704, part of the first COVID-19 relief package, contained a five-month reprieve.

SB704 made the reprieve start date retroactive to March 1, which meant motorists whose renewal was due on that date had until Aug. 1 to meet their obligation.

The last start date for the reprieve was set as Aug. 1, which meant renewals needed to be done by Jan. 1, 2021.

What the language in HB1105 does is link the extension of the reprieve to Gov. Roy Cooper's Executive Order No. 116, which declared March 10 a statewide public health emergency related to the pandemic.

At the time that Cooper rescinds Executive Order No. 116, or a future executive order supersedes it, the language in HB1105 begins essentially a six-month countdown to the end of the reprieve.

The bill says that 30 days after the expiration of the order, a final five-month reprieve period starts.

For example, if Cooper were to rescind Executive Order No. 116 on Nov. 1, the final five months would commence Dec. 1 and last through May 1.

"There was increasing uncertainty about when the renewal extension would end, so the language in the relief bill answers that question," said Pat Ryan, spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

The DMV, in response to COVID-19 social guidelines, has temporarily closed dozens of smaller offices. The remaining 57 offices are assisting customers by appointment only.

All driver road tests, except for commercial driver’s licenses, have been suspended.

HB1105 also allows the DMV to extend by the same time frame the validity of intrastate medical waivers for commercial drivers.

336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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