By MADDISON BOOTH, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabamians needing to renew their licenses may want to do it this week.
Driver License Examining Offices across the state will be closed starting Monday to upgrade the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency License System, known as LEADS. Offices are expected to reopen Tuesday, April 26.
“We understand that it may cause an inconvenience to some citizens,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said in a press release. “But we assure everyone the result will be impressive.”
The new system, which ALEA and Gov. Kay Ivey announced in February, will replace the one that the state has used for almost 20 years and take advantage of new technology. According to ALEA, some of the data that needs to be transferred to the new system dates back to the 1970s.
When LEADS launches later this month, Alabamians will be able to pre-apply for a driver license, update their address, or reinstate their license without having to step foot in a Driver License Examining Office.
Other online services will include issuing duplicate licenses for foreign nationals, viewing hazardous material background checks from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and uploading U.S. Department of Transportation Medical Cards. The latter two are necessary for many CDL drivers.
Taylor called the implementation of the new system a “historic project for the state of Alabama.”
Information about the total cost of the upgrade was not available from ALEA on Tuesday. The Alabama Legislature budgeted $7.2 million for a new driver’s license system for the current fiscal year and included an additional $7.2 million for the same purpose in the 2023 General Fund recently signed by the governor.
Col. Jimmy Helms, Director of ALEA’s Department of Public Safety, said that this transition has been one of his priorities for years, and promised the public that it will be “the first of many steps within ALEA’s plan to continue to enhance the driver license experience for all Alabamians.”
During the closure, Alabamians will still be able to take Class D and CDL Road Skills Tests with an ALEA Driver License Examiner, but they will not be able to obtain a license until the offices reopen on April 26.