CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Channel 9 asked the state for answers after several viewers expressed frustrations about waiting up to six hours at DMV offices and learned it’s a statewide problem.
"We sat for six-and-a-half hours and waited," said John Luthringer, who moved to North Carolina six weeks ago.
One viewer sent Channel 9 a picture from inside the Huntersville DMV facility 30 minutes after the office opened that showed dozens of people lining the walls.
"It's really frustrating," said Darrin Fitzgerald.
He had to wait because his license expired Wednesday.
He said he tried to schedule an appointment, but the first available appointment was in October.
Some drivers had to take off work to get their driver’s license renewed.
“(An employee) told me to go to Mount Holly location, Lincolnton location or Newton because everywhere in Charlotte is (a) five-hour wait or more," Deirdre Poage said.
Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster asked DMV officials about the problem drivers are facing.
"On top of our normal, seasonal high-volume traffic, we're seeing individuals who are paying attention to what we're saying about the critical need to get the REAL ID in advance of the deadline and we're seeing the impact of that," North Carolina DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup said.
The REAL ID is like a traditional license but has enhanced security features, noted by a gold star at the top. Drivers who have a REAL ID can board flights or enter federal facilities without additional documentation.
Some drivers still say it's ridiculous that they have to wait five hours or more.
Jonathan Butler left after hearing the wait would be about five hours.
"The wait is more than my schedule allows, so I have to come back," he said.
Roy Luker left, too.
"Five hours and that's a little too long,” Luker said. “Too much of a waste of the day, so I'll be here bright and early in the morning.”
Jessup said DMV employees are going through lines to make sure customers have all the information they need with them, so they're not waiting hours, only to be turned away.
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