- Some states are offering extensions on driver's licenses, registrations, and other documents set to expire to prevent people from coming in to the DMV in person.
- The decision has been made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through person-to-person contact at the offices.
- Check on your state's renewal website to see if you can delay renewing your expiring documents and, crucially, to find out whether the extension means you won't be ticketed for having an expired license or registration.
CDC guidelines restricting gatherings to fewer than 10 people automatically bar the hellish waiting area at any DMV from continuing business as usual—and state offices have taken notice. Across the country, many states are extending the expiration date for up to 90 days on driver's license, registration, and license plate renewals to reduce foot traffic at the DMV and thus decrease the possibility of COVID-19 spreading at one of the offices.
Among states that have declared they're waiving late penalties or delaying expiration dates are Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Texas, and there are likely going to be others, since the situation nationwide is changing rapidly. Because details or each state differ, including the number of days in the extension, who qualifies, and so on, it is important you check with your respective Secretary of State, DOT, or Department of Motor Vehicles office to find out if you are able to put off renewing documents and for how long. In many cases it's possible to conduct essential renewal business online, and some states may have expanded availability of online services because of the current crisis.
There's an important distinction between a waiver of late fees and an actual extension of the registration or license's expiration date. In Michigan, for instance, the Secretary of State is seeking an executive order from the governor, according to a Detroit Free Press story today. Although late fees have been waived there and police are asked to use discretion in issuing tickets for expired documents, only the governor can extend the effective dates of the documents, the paper reported.
States have also made adjustments to vehicle inspection schedules and whether or not one still needs to be done, another way to reduce person-to-person contact.
Toll roads have also made adjustments to thwart the spread of disease, such as in Florida, where all cash collection at tolls has been suspended and drivers instead will receive the bill by mail. In Harris County, where Houston, Texas, is located, all toll roads have been made toll-free for the next 30 days.