Reeling from a raft of complaints, the state will close its driver's license exam offices statewide Thursday to train its employees to be more efficient and friendly.
Long lines that start as early as 2 a.m. at some test sites may soon be a thing of the past as Department of Public Safety looks for ways to speed up the process and resolve customer complaints.
The operator of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant will teach examiners how to be patient and courteous; new legislation and testing procedures will be discussed; and department heads will unveil a new planned digital platform that could allow applicants to take care of much of the licensing work on their computer at home.
The training session — a first for the department in at least a decade — will start in Oklahoma City at 9 a.m.
Department spokeswoman Betsy Randolph said the need became evident this summer as customer complaints rose to a new level.
“We really are aware that there's a problem, there's a huge problem, and it's not just in Oklahoma City — it's statewide,” Randolph said. “It does not make any of us happy that work for DPS to know people are taking a day off work, taking kids out of school, traveling hours and getting into lines sometimes the night before only to get in and be told that they're not going to be seen that day.”
The department had been looking into the digital platform for quite some time, she said.
A report by The Oklahoman in July convinced officials to speed up the process.
Saundra Griffis and her 16-year-old son, Isaac, were among several applicants turned away from the Yukon exam site at the time, having waited nearly all night only to find out there were not enough examiners on-site for her son to take his driving test.