California is falling perilously short of its targets for issuing Real IDs and will have to more than double the number issued each month to reach the millions of drivers still without the federally required identification card before an Oct. 1 deadline, officials said Thursday.
With eight months to go, the state Department of Motor Vehicles has issued Real IDs to just 25% of California’s 27 million drivers since it began providing the new licenses in January 2018. The DMV would have to issue at least 1.1 million Real IDs each month to get them to all licensed drivers expected to apply for one by October.
The problem took on new urgency on Thursday when the DMV reported issuing an estimated 381,570 Real IDs in January, a drop from the number issued in each of the previous six months, including December’s total of 485,000 cards.
Adding to the uncertainty is the troubled history of the DMV, which has been beset by problems in the last two years including frequent computer system crashes, staffing problems, turnover of leadership and burdensome paperwork processes that in 2018 had some people waiting in line for four to five hours.
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