Forgetting to renew license can be expensive for drivers

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 23, 2001

It happens every four years, and could potentially save peoplemoney, yet it is not publicized as much as an election.

It’s the time when individuals renew their driver’s licenseswith the Department of Public Safety.

Renewals can be made up to six months before a driver’s licenseexpires, but many choose to wait until the last day — theirbirthday.

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“A lot of people still think they expire at the end of thatmonth,” said Donna B. Dampier, a driver’s license examiner inBrookhaven.

If a driver’s license is not renewed on the holder’s birthdayafter four years of use, the holder is in danger of receiving acostly citation.

In Brookhaven, an expired driver’s license ticket costs $89.50,the same as running a stop sign or red light, according to circuitcourt employees.

In Lincoln County, driver’s caught with an expired license haveto pay a $70 fine, justice court employees stated.

The cost of renewing a regular driver’s license is $20 for thoseover 18 years old and is $40 for commercial driver’s licenseholders, with endorsements costing $5 each.

Drivers have the opportunity to save themselves $30-$70 if theycan remember to renew before their license expires.

Since everyone does not have to renew their driver’s license atthe same time, many forget about the simple task.

“We do send out notices to help remind people approximately twomonths before the renewal date. Sometimes people don’t get theirnotices, because we switched to a new system or they changed theiraddress,” Dampier said.

If someone does not receive a notice, or if they accidentallythrow the notice away and they forget about renewing their license,the renewal late fee is only $1, Dampier said.

Drivers 15, 16 and 17 years old do not ordinarily need reminderssent to them in the mail, she added.

“They usually come right on in when it’s time to renew,” shesaid.

Their first driver’s license, called an intermediate license,does defer from the usual expiration laws, though.

“After holding the permit for six months they can take a roadtest, and their intermediate license is good for one year from dateof issue, not their birthday,” Dampier pointed out.

The laws for young drivers are also different in that they musthave a current school attendance form, not older than 30 days, tobe eligible for renewal.

Renewals must all take place at a driver’s license examinationoffice, such as the regional office located inside the MississippiHighway Patrol building on Highway 51 in Brookhaven. Anyone withquestions about renewing their driver’s license may contact thelocal office at 833-0808.