THEY’RE BACK: Well, they will be starting June 1, but by appointment only as the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division enters Phase 1 of reopening in a coronavirus world.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the move during a news conference Friday afternoon. The appointments will be available at mvdonline.com or by calling 888-683-4636 – and only for transactions that cannot be done online.
That includes getting your first driver’s license, your first Real ID license (which requires providing documents proving identity, identity number and residency), renewing a license for someone age 79 and older (which requires a vision test), driving tests, title transfers and VIN inspections. MVD is encouraging all other customers to go online for transactions including renewing vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses. (And many folks are; there were 91,806 online transactions in April, up 84% over April 2019.)
Drivers, especially those without computer access, can also just sit tight until the reopening expands for their transactions. Remember, the governor’s order from March 30 “waive(s) late fees and penalties on licenses that expire during MVD office closures and for a reasonable period of time after our offices reopen. The order also directs State Police not to issue citations for registrations or licenses that expire while MVD field offices are closed. Local law enforcement agencies have been encouraged to do the same.”
For those who get appointments with MVD, the governor also said all MVD employees and customers will be required to wear face coverings per her coronavirus safety protocol.
Charlie Moore, the public information officer for MVD’s parent agency, the Taxation and Revenue Department, says the department is working to protect customers with measures such as reserving the 8-10 a.m. window on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at its larger offices for drivers over age 79. MVD is planning to post a list of senior-hour locations online as well.
ABOUT THOSE 90-DAY TEMPORARY LICENSES: Meanwhile, after last week’s column said drivers over 79 had been added to the print-a-temp-permit list, several called to report some drivers have had trouble getting their 90-day temporary licenses online.
Reasons to get one and not just wait until offices reopen include concerns about being able to buy alcohol (some sellers card all customers, apparently thinking kids stacked in a trenchcoat and mask are trying to buy that six-pack) and pick up prescriptions that require ID.
It turns out your license must be expired (that usually happens a month after your birthday and is listed on the license) for the system to accept your request.
MVD has emailed more that 32,000 90-day temporary licenses to people whose licenses expired during the pandemic – if it had their address. Everyone else can go to mvdonline.com, choose “Online Services,” then “Eservices,” then “Drivers & Placards” then “Print Temporary License or ID.”
But remember, after your license has expired.
EMAIL FOR INTERLOCK AND OTHER QUESTIONS: Meanwhile, if you are on track to graduate from a DWI interlock license to a regular one, Moore says, you “should reach out to the DWI Unit at DWI.Reinstate@state.nm.us.”
Other questions can be directed to MVD.firstname.lastname@example.org and, for drivers over 79, to MVD.email@example.com.
I-25 CLOSURES: And the New Mexico Department of Transportation will be closing alternating northbound and southbound lanes on Interstate 25 between Rio Bravo and Broadway this week for paving.
Expect closures between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. as crews tackle highway lanes and the entrance and exit ramps at the Broadway interchange. Drivers are asked to seek an alternate route.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.