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Kansas bill would allow 8-year driver's licenses

Published on -2/21/2014, 10:39 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Kansas House committee is considering a bill that would allow residents to renew their driver's licenses for eight years, rather than the current six years.

The bill before the House Transportation Committee also would allow drivers over 70 to renew their licenses every five years, rather than every four years as currently required for drivers 65 and over. After concerns were raised, members of the committee said they would be open to keeping the current four-year requirement, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1fhffyp ).

"I believe it is time for Kansas to take this step," said Rep. Don Hineman, a Dighton Republican who proposed the idea. "By doing so, we reduce the frequency of interaction between government and citizens, and restore to the citizens that time that is now spent dealing with government."

The bill could also relieve long lines frequently reported at license offices, said committee member Larry Hibbard, a Republican from Toronto.

Rep. James Todd, R-Overland Park, said it might make more sense to change Kansas to a 10-year driver's license to align with the federal government's requirements to renew passports.

Julie Earnest, representing the vehicle division at the Kansas Department of Revenue, cautioned the bill could reduce licensing revenue, and said adjustments to renewals for older motorists ought to consider potential safety problems.

"There is also a safety concern that applicants who renew at the age of 69 years and 264 days would be issued a license that will not expire until the age of 78," she said. "Age-related vision and medical issues escalate at age 70 and above."

Hineman said he wouldn't object to retaining existing licensing standards for older drivers, and he would discuss extending renewals for most people to 10 years. He said the revenue loss could be counteracted by changing the existing $18 charge for a six-year license for a $24 fee on an eight-year license. The bill would not change the current $8 fee for the license photograph, he said.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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