SENIORS CAN NOW RENEW ONLINE: As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations remain far too high, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division is making an important change for drivers 79 and older.
State law requires these drivers to come in person to renew their licenses every year and take the vision test, but they are exempt from fees. When the pandemic hit in March the state supplied drivers with 90-day permits to keep their licenses valid, but 90 days has come and gone a few times.
And many senior drivers have been unable to schedule an appointment at mvdonline.com or have been unwilling to venture out to an MVD office.
On Friday, MVD said in a news release that “for the first time, drivers 79 years of age and older have the option of renewing their driver’s licenses online at MVDonline.com. … Anyone in that category now will be able to renew online 60 days or less before their current license expires.”
Acting MVD Director Marcos Martinez said in the release, “We’re especially pleased to be able to offer this service for one of our most vulnerable populations. We know that many seniors still aren’t comfortable coming to an office right now.”
Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke, who oversees MVD, said in the release “The need to reduce traffic in Motor Vehicle offices because of the COVID-19 pandemic created frustrating backlogs. … (But) “online transactions already have increased dramatically this year, and these new initiatives should further relieve the strain on our field offices.”
Those senior drivers who are required to submit medical paperwork to renew “will submit their eye exam or medical report online at mvdonline.com,” the release says. “Once the report has been accepted by MVD staff, the driver will go to mvdonline.com to renew their license.”
MORE TRANSACTION UPDATES IN THE WORKS: In addition, MVD is:
• Launching a pilot project to allow vehicle registration renewals at self-service MVD Direct kiosks at retail sites.
• Introducing an online option for in-state title transfers and first-time vehicle registrations, which currently must be conducted in person.
• Preparing to allow vehicle owners to drop off title transfer and new-registration paperwork at MVD field offices for processing without an appointment.
• Revising the appointment system to expedite transactions and provide confirmation texts.
Meanwhile, some transactions can be done via the automated phone system at 888-MVD-INFO – credit and debit cards accepted. Drivers with Real IDs and under age 79 whose licenses have expired during the pandemic can renew online, and drivers who need their first Real ID can get a 90-day temporary license. Commercial license holders can renew online – unless they need their first Real ID license – and also get a 120-day temporary online. Drivers who need in-person assistance, such as with a first-time Real ID, can still try to get an appointment atmvdonline.com.
And drivers can email MVD with questions. Seniors can use MVD.firstname.lastname@example.org; folks under 79 can use MVD.email@example.com.
BUT IF YOU AREN’T ‘ON THE LINE:’ Seniors 75 and over can still show up unannounced for “senior hours” Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the MVD offices in Clovis, Farmington, Roswell, Santa Fe on Camino Entrada, Las Cruces Main and Del Rey, and in Albuquerque at the Eagle Vista, Montgomery, Rio Bravo and Sandia Vista sites.
Drivers and vehicle owners can also pay a little extra and go to an MVD office not run by the state.
And the mantra from March still stands: Drivers can just sit tight until MVD reopens. 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.”
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.