Starting today, the Warren County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office will no longer issue or renew driver’s licenses. Those services have transitioned to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s new regional office in Bowling Green.
All counties will eventually do the same as the commonwealth transitions from standard driver’s licenses to REAL IDs, which are federally compliant and less susceptible to fraud.
Warren County Circuit Court Clerk Brandi Duvall says neither her office nor others in the state are equipped to process the new licenses.
“It was going to be very overwhelming to the circuit clerks and our staffing, because it’s a lot more detailed than what you’re used to now, just being able to come in and renew your license, just because of all the documentation, all the verification," Duvall explained.
The more secure REAL IDs resulted from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when terrorists used state-issued driver’s licenses to board planes bound for New York and Washington, D.C.
REAL ID licenses are optional, but starting in May 2023, Kentuckians with only a standard license will need a passport to fly domestically or visit military installations.
All driver’s licenses, permits, and state identification cards will now be issued at the regional transportation office in downtown Bowling Green. The office is located inside Stadium Park Plaza on East 8th Avenue. Walk-ins are accepted or appointments can be made online at www.drive.ky.gov.
Kentucky remains the only state that issues driver's licenses through the judicial branch, as opposed to the executive wing. Duvall said unloading those responsibilities is welcomed by her staff of 38.
“We literally open and maintain about 25,000 cases a year," Duvall said. "We’re actually an under-staffed county based on the workload we do, so the great thing for me is that the couple of people I have in the driver’s license division get to come out of driver’s license and work on the court side.”
Just over one-third of Kentucky's 120 counties have made the transfer of driver's license services from circuit court clerk's offices. Regional tranporation offices are now open from 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. in Bowling Green, Burlington, Catlettsburg, Columbia, Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Jackson, Lexington, Louisville/Bowman Field, Louisville/Dixie Highway, Louisville/Hurstbourne, Madisonville, Manchester, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg, Richmond, and Somerset.
Kentuckians can also renew their standard driver's license or upgrade to a REAL ID at the Kentucky State Fair underway through Aug. 29.
Two pop-up stations will be open daily from 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in the Main Street Kentucky area at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Fairgoers with a license due to expire within the next six months are eligible to renew.