New Drivers Center Opens In Dyersburg While Shelby County Centers Remain Packed

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(Memphis) People in Dyer County say their new Drivers Testing Center is long overdue. With the cutting of the ribbon Friday, a new building replaced an old dilapidated one.

"We had a small facility at our fairgrounds. It was very old, constructed in the '60s or '70s on county property , just out of date, antiquated," Dyersburg Mayor John Holden said.

The wait time at the new Dyersburg center is just five minutes.

Yet, the state of Tennessee is still grappling with waiting nightmares in Shelby County, where WREG found some folks waiting six hours.

Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons promised help.

He says the center at Shelby Drive, which was remodeled two years ago, is now the premier center in the state and long wait times are being reduced.

"Last week we were very encouraged because at the Shelby Drive Center last week the average wait time was 17 minutes. At Summer Avenue it was 21 minutes," Gibbons said.

He says they've been training workers this week and updating equipment.

"We kind of  restructured the way examiners work. We streamlined the process a little more. We have people working the lines constantly so you don't have to stand in line for 45 minutes to find out you don't have what you need," said Assistant Commissioner Lori Bullard.

All workers now begin their shifts when the doors open.

Still, at the center on Shelby Drive Friday afternoon, we found about 100 people waiting.

"I brought a veteran out here at 11:30. It's about 2:00 now. So I don't know if that's saying that the time is being cut," said Robert Porter of Memphis.

Remember, the clock doesn't start ticking until you get your number.

As for the opening of a new center in Dyersburg, Robert Porter asked, "Was that to relieve some of the pressure over here?"

Centers around the state are in for another update in about a year when all new software will be installed to help prevent system breakdowns that can lead to longer wait times.

The Driver's Reinstatement Center at Hickory Ridge Mall still has long wait times, but the state has opened it on Saturdays to provide some relief.

The final two Saturdays are April 12th and April 26th.