Chamber Chat - DMV

Jun 24

By Meg Moss


A few months ago, the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Subcommittee began talks of the wait times at the Division of Motor Vehicles. These extreme wait times have resulted in both a quality of life issue, and a workforce development issue. Employees are having to take time off of work – sometimes a whole day – to simply renew their license, get their REAL ID, or handle other DMV business that cannot be handled online.

For this reason, Joy Thrash, the Sanford Area Growth Alliance (SAGA) CEO, crafted a letter to be sent to the North Carolina Secretary of Transportation, James Trogdon III.  Our state elected officials received copies of the letter as well. The letter reads:

Dear Secretary Trogdon:

Imagine going to a business with posted hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, only to discover a note on the door at 8:00 am stating they will not be accepting any more customers that day because they had already reached their service capacity.

Imagine going to a business that you know it will take so long to be seen, you bring lunch.

Imagine going to a business that requires you to get there 90 minutes before it opens in order to be seen that day.

Now imagine that business operates this way on a regular, daily basis. Unfortunately, you can live these examples daily at the Division of Motor Vehicle offices across the state. In Lee County, we experience these service problems daily. Surrounding counties tell us they experience these same issues.

While this may be the new normal for some state governments, we consider this not only a quality of life issue, but also an important economic concern for North Carolina communities.  In regular conversations with small business and industry we are reminded of the issues employers and employees face scheduling time off from work – often a full day and at times without pay – to make sure they can accomplish required appointments at a DMV office. The lengthy wait times are an inconvenience for employees who must sacrifice an entire leave day to take care of necessary DMV business. Finding a “closed for the day” sign on the door at 8:00 am after an employee has taken a personal leave day is simply unacceptable. Something must be done!

We realize there are online options for some, but with some renewals and the REAL ID, this is not an option. Surely in the tenth most populous state in the nation, we can better organize a basic function such as this, rather than having an office staffed with only two persons when one is out for driving tests. Perhaps a citizen task force might be helpful in brainstorming solutions to these service problems at DMV offices and offer suggestions that make a real difference.

Please know this is not merely an inconvenience. It is a vital economic concern for communities large and small across the state.  This level of performance further erodes confidence in public institutions and promotes cynical disregard for the important work given to DMV.

Thank you in advance for your consideration in addressing this matter quickly and appropriately. I look forward to hearing from your office on plans to address this issue.

The letter is sincerely signed by the SAGA CEO, Joy Thrash.


Have you been affected by the wait times at the DMV? We encourage you, no, we implore you, to contact your state elected officials and let them know of your concern about the wait times at our local DMV office. Senator Ronald Rabin (, Representative John Sauls (, and Representative Robert Reives II ( need to hear from you. It’s not just a personal issue. It’s a quality of life issue for our whole community, as well as an issue for employers throughout the county who are losing employees for part, or all of a day, so that they can handle their DMV business. Contact Joy Thrash at if you have comments or questions.

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