Fit and Ready to Drive
Under these two bills, certain drivers can qualify for the online renewal option. These include individuals who do not hold similar licenses issued by other authorized bodies.
Drivers who also wish to submit their renewal request electronically or digitally can do so with a note from a healthcare practitioner, such as a physician or an advanced registered nurse, stating that they are physically and mentally fit to operate a vehicle.
Limitations to the Rule
While both bills might make license renewals in Hawaii easier, they also introduce limitations to ensure motorist safety.
Drivers will need to appear at the Department of Transportation office after two consecutive online renewals regardless of whether the license has already expired.
Except for military personnel and their families stationed outside the United States, those who haven't appeared at the department for license renewal for the past 16 years cannot also qualify for the online option.
Advocates and Critics for the Idea
Both bills are still pending in the two houses as lawmakers want to take more time reviewing the provisions. Even then, these proposals have already gained both advocates and critics.
Those who support Senate Bill 2105 and House Bill 1429 hope the bills will help reduce congestion at driver's license offices and make it more convenient for residents to carry out their transactions with minimal hassle.
In 2021, the state faced a massive backlog of applicants waiting to renew their driver's licenses partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some counties extended their hours to weekends to speed up processing.
However, some critics of the bills argue that having an online renewal option might compromise safety. It might still be difficult to determine if someone is physically and mentally capable of driving.