comscore Kokua Line: Honolulu County allows some older drivers to renew licenses by mail during pandemic | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Honolulu County allows some older drivers to renew licenses by mail during pandemic

Question: Unfortunately, I’m at the age where I must renew my driver’s license every two years. My appointment is in May, but I’m worried about having to wait in a crowded licensing center. That’s a guaranteed way for the virus to spread. So I would suggest that everyone should get a one- or two-year extension on their driver’s license to keep the crowds down at the DMV.

Answer: Honolulu County has announced welcome news for drivers age 72 and up: Oahu motorists who hold a two-year driver’s license that expires in 2020 can renew by mail, with no visit to the DMV necessary.

In addition, Oahu drivers of any age whose license expires in March, April, May or June will get an automatic 90-day extension of the expiration dates, according to the Department of Customer Services.

That’s not as long a reprieve as you suggested, but the combination of a 90-day extension plus the option for certain older drivers to renew by mail should significantly ease concerns, which we’ve heard from many readers your age.

The policy changes, which take effect today, are intended to help people avoid crowds and limit errands to avoid catching or spreading the novel coronavirus, as health officials have advised. The virus is most dangerous for older people and those with underlying health conditions.

“This extension is intended to minimize the public’s need to visit a city service center and made in support of advice for social distancing. The mail-in provision for seniors is meant to protect our most vulnerable population — our kupuna,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of DCS, which administers driver’s licensing and state IDs on Oahu.

Other Hawaii counties also might seek to adopt the changes, which were authorized under the supplemental emergency declaration signed Monday by Gov. David Ige.

On Oahu the 90-day automatic extension covers all valid Hawaii learner’s permits, driver’s licenses and state IDs that expire during March, April, May and June. It does not apply to licenses or IDs that expired before March.

The mail-in renewal option applies to applicants 72 or older who already hold a valid, two-year driver’s license that expires anytime this year (not limited to those four months). However, it does not apply to license-holders in that age group who have a reported medical condition requiring a secondary clearance for public safety, the city said. Nor does it apply to those seeking a two-year license for the first time.

To renew by mail, eligible applicants will mail in a completed, signed application form; a doctor’s certificate with vision clearance “up to one year current”; and a check for $10 ($5 per year) for a two-year renewal. The city will use the photo it has on file, which would have been taken within 24 months.

Drivers 72 and up must renew their driver’s license every two years in Hawaii, while those ages 25 through 71 receive an eight-year license.

The mail-in renewal option also is available for people 72 and older who hold valid state IDs that expire in 2020, the city said. The state ID is good for eight years, and the renewal fee is $40.

For more information, go online to www.honolulu.gov/csd and click on the driver license icon.

Note: The automatic extension of expiration dates does not apply to motor vehicle registrations. The city has encouraged Oahu residents to renew online, by mail or at a grocery store kiosk.

Mahalo

I was caught in a driving rain without an umbrella at Pali Safeway on Monday when a kind stranger offered to shield me to my car. It was parked at the far end. I was so appreciative of his kindness, I wanted to remember his name. It’s Steve. Thank you, Steve. — A surprised senior


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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