Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are on the front lines in keeping Texas secure and providing excellent customer service to over 20 million Texas residents. CSRs have the responsibility of serving the general public for the issuance of various types of driver licenses and identification cards. CSRs are entrusted with sensitive, protected, and confidential information and have a common goal to provide our customers with a faster, easier and friendlier driver license experience and a safer Texas. The information provided here will help explain the tasks a CSR performs, and how driver services has changed over the past decade.
Note: Links to additional information will be bolded in dark blue. Simply place your mouse over the link and click to access the information you are looking for.
From 1935 to the 1990s, a Driver License was a tool to indicate the license holder had the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
However, throughout the years it has shifted from certification that a license holder has the ability to drive a motor vehicle to being an identity document.
This change in duties has expanded the role of the Customer Service Representative and the length of the time of the transaction itself.
Descriptions of the various modifications to the Driver License transaction process since 1991 are below.
1 Adding database check requirements increases transaction times waiting for responses from federal systems and causes delays when information is not available due to technical issues.↵
2 Adding database check requirements increases transaction times waiting for responses from federal systems and causes delays when information is not available due to technical issues.↵
3 Adding database check requirements increases transaction times waiting for responses from federal systems and causes delays when information is not available due to technical issues.↵
If you are still having difficulties finding an answer to your problem, please let us know. You can ask questions directly by sending an e-mail to our Customer Service Center. Please include an e-mail address and phone number in the text of your e-mail to ensure that you receive a response.
Welcome to the FAQ About the Driver License Division page. These FAQs are intended to provide information for the most commonly asked questions from customers and legislators, and provide insight to the daily operations of driver services.
Note: Links to additional information will be bolded in dark blue. Simply place your mouse over the link and click to access the information you are looking for.
In both Fiscal Year (FY) 17 and (FY) 18, most driver license (DL) transactions could have been conducted alternatively (online, by mail or by phone). However, these customers continue to conduct their transactions in person, which means more than 50% of all customers visiting driver license offices do not need to do so.
In fall 2018, Texas.gov conducted a marketing study through Deloitte and found that 91% of our customers are aware of the ability to renew their license online yet still choose to conduct their transactions in person. The top reasons for coming into a driver license office are:
As long as customers choose to come into our offices rather than conduct their transaction alternatively, resources will need to increase for driver license operations.
Also, please note that the Texas.gov fee of $1 is the same whether the transaction is conducted online or in the office.
Customers who need to renew their DL or ID receive two different kinds of letters. This is the DR-5 and the DR-32. One is for renewing in person, which is the DR-5. The other provides the three alternatives for renewal, and encourages them to handle their transaction alternatively, which is the DR-32.
Implemented Mandatory In-Office Transaction Initiative
Beginning in July 2018, six offices began participating in a program aimed at reducing the number of customers in DL offices by focusing on those customers who must conduct a transaction in person.
If a customer meets the criteria for conducting their transaction by alternative methods (online, by phone or by mail), they receive a printed notice that explains the alternative options and provides location information for the nearby DL mega centers should they still choose to pursue an in-office transaction.
The original offices selected for that initiative were: Plano, Rockwall, Denton, Houston Dacoma, Conroe and Temple. The Grand Prairie office was added in August 2018. These offices were selected based on the life safety issues of customers waiting outside in line for hours and the offices' proximity to a mega center.
As of March 8, 2019, this initiative resulted in an average 12 percent decrease in renewal and duplicate transactions in these offices and no corresponding increase to other nearby offices. By prioritizing in-office service to those customers who were required to be there, both the in-office customers and the alternative-transaction customers were served more efficiently.
Implemented In-Person Marketing Initiative
In August 2018, additional department personnel were assigned to the highest-volume offices to help identify customers who could, if they preferred, immediately get out of line and conduct their transaction online, by phone, or by mail.
Department personnel from other divisions were assigned to interact with customers and encouraged them to check their eligibility for alternate renewal options by calling 1-866-DL-RENEW or visiting Texas.gov. If the customer didn't have a phone, the Department offered the use of a phone in the office lobby. Eligible customers could immediately renew online or by phone, and those who did not wish to renew by these methods were offered a paper form that would allow them to mail in their renewal transaction request.
Partnership with Texas.gov to provide an alternative to using audit number for transactions
We partnered with DIR and Texas.gov to allow for an alternative to the use of the audit number when they conduct a Texas.gov transaction for a renewal or duplicate DL. This was implemented in April 2019 and allows customers who do not have access to their audit number to be able to conduct their transactions online by answering a series of questions.
Driver License Operations
As of 4/1/19, there were 143 vacant positions in the regional offices, but all are in some part of the hiring process.
Though we consistently have candidates in the hiring process, we are unable to become fully staffed because we have candidates who may not be able to pass the background check or who reject our offer of employment based on the length of time the hiring process took or the low salaries.
The Driver License Division deployed a new hiring process in January of 2019. This pilot was designed to reduce the amount of time expended for the purposes of hiring new Customer Service Representatives (CSR) throughout the Division. This new process breaks down into two phases.
During phase one of the process, applications are screened using standardized criteria. Applicants that pass the screening are sent an email invite to attend a Driver License Open House Event. The Open House Event provides information to potential candidates about being a CSR in the DLD. The material presented includes information about the history of the DLD, salary, benefits, duties and expectations. At the conclusion of the presentation, candidates are shown a video entitled, "A Day in the Life of a CSR." This video was developed using actual CSRs currently working in the DLD, and highlights the contributions and public service provided by DPS employees every day. This video also provides information on the education and promotional opportunities for CSRs.
At this point in the process, candidates are given an opportunity to move to the interview phase of the process or to "opt-out," if they feel the CSR position is not a good fit for them.
Phase two of the process is group interviews before a panel of staff members from area offices. Candidates go before the interview panel in groups of 2 – 4 where they describe how they would respond to defined customer situations and answer questions related to their work experience. Candidates are scored individually based on their experience, application and interview. At the end of the interview, scores are calculated and the top candidates are selected and presented with a conditional job offer and instructions on how to proceed with the background investigation.
Each Open House Event averages 2.5 hours, reducing the time it takes to conduct interviews from 3-5 days to a few hours.
The role of the Customer Service Representative (CSR) is very complex. CSRs are routinely working over 40 hours a week, and they only get paid $26K/year at the entry level.
In order to attract additional candidates, we have requested in our legislative Exceptional Items a reclassification of Customer Service Representative positions (making $26K/yr at the entry level) to become License and Permit Specialists (making $35K/yr at the entry level). This request is $51M for the 2020/2021 biennium.
In larger offices, a driver license office will try to assist any customer who is in the door before the office closes. If there is a long line, this requires the DL employees to stay until all customers are processed, which can extend more than 1 to 2 hours beyond closing time, depending on how many customers were remaining. During the summer months, employees might have to serve customers up to 2 hours and 30 minutes after closing.
Last year, in an attempt to ensure that neither customers nor employees had to stay unreasonably late in a DL office, DPS began to review the number of customers in the queue both online and in person. When the capacity of the office is reached, DL management has the authority to let customers in line know where the cut-off point is that customers can no longer be served. Customers beyond that cut off point are advised that they would not be able to be seen and are encouraged to come back the next day.
With small offices, the office may be seen to be "closed" when the Customer Service Representative is conducting a driver test, banking duties or at lunch. DPS recommends that we fully staff even the one person offices with additional employees in order to ensure those offices stay open during business hours.
The Driver License Division currently has 229 offices throughout the state, ranging in size from 1 counter to more than 40 counters in our Mega Centers.
As of September 1, 2018, DPS had a total of 1,138 workstations spread among the 229 offices, but only 918.5 of those are able to be manned at any given time. This leaves 219.5 workstations unmanned.
In our smallest offices, there are still significant wait times because if the one employee conducts a drive test or banking issues, no other customers can be served. Adding staff to all smaller offices would provide efficiencies for all customers.
Even in our largest offices, like Houston North, while there are 42 workstations, and 61 customer service representatives assigned, not all workstations will be manned because some CSRs are providing drive tests, commercial drive tests, or otherwise assisting customers not at a processing station (like at the info desk). Some CSRs may also be on vacation or sick leave. The office needs an additional 28 employees in order to ensure that every workstation can be fully manned, while still accomplishing all of the other tasks, like providing testing or assistance at the information desk.
There are currently 14 Mega Centers, defined as having at least 22 available workstations built in. This doesn't mean all of these offices actually have 22 active workstations, only that they were built with the ability to grow to that size.
The Mega Centers are located at: Carrollton, Corpus Christi, Dallas South, Edinburg, Fort Worth, Garland, Houston North, Houston South East, Leon Valley, Midland, Pflugerville, Rosenberg, Houston Gessner and Spring.
Though these offices may have many stations, they don't necessarily have them all "manned." For example, in one of our largest offices, like Houston North, while there are 42 workstations and 61 customer service representatives assigned to that office, not all workstations will be manned because some CSRs are providing drive tests, commercial drive tests, or otherwise assisting customers not at a processing station (like at the info desk). Some CSRs may also be on vacation or sick leave. The office needs an additional 28 employees in order to ensure that every workstation can be fully manned, while still accomplishing all of the other tasks, like providing testing or assistance at the information desk.
Though we have been targeting some of our largest offices to fully staff, currently no Mega Center is fully staffed.
DPS has submitted a request to the Texas Legislature to fully staff all Driver License offices so that all workstations will be manned, and we can more efficiently serve our customers.
DPS reviewed data from the State Demographer that details where in Texas the highest growth is projected to be. The new locations needed are:
The full cost of these 15 offices with 846 additional DL FTEs and 106.4 indirect FTEs is $190M. This request was presented as part of the Exceptional Item request presented by DPS to the State Legislature during the 86th Legislative Session.
Typically, the process is that DPS recommends locations based on population growth. Then the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) creates the solicitation and determines the winning bid.
DPS and TFC work in partnership so that TFC can choose the proper location based on the need that DPS has and the available funding.
Since Driver License Improvement Plan (DLIP) funding began in 2012, a net total of 300 workstations were added to DL offices statewide, along with 13 Mega Centers, 6 large offices and 66 office remodels/refreshes.
The Driver License Division currently has 229 offices throughout the state, ranging in size from 1 counter to over 40 counters in our Driver License Centers.
As of September 1, 2018, the state had a total of 1,138 workstations spread among the 229 offices. Keep in mind, only 918.5 of those are able to be manned at any given time. This leaves 219.5 workstations unmanned.
|Legislative Session||Offices Opened||Offices Relocated||Offices Remodeled/
|Offices Closed||Capital Projects|
Funding provided was used to open 8 new offices, relocate 1 office, remodel/refresh 31 offices and add 361 FTEs.
|6 Mega Centers: Rosenberg, Spring, Leon Valley, Pflugerville, Fort Worth, Garland
1 Medium office: Houston East
1 scheduled office: Junction
|Liberty||Midland, Odessa, Austin North, Hurst, New Braunfels, Fort Worth South, Decatur, Baytown, Beaumont, Brownville,
San Antonio General McMullen, Houston Townhurst, Conroe, Humble, Childress, Longview, Plainview, Terrell, Sherman, Brownwood, Crosbyton, Dumas, Pampa, Wichita Falls, Houston Gessner, Orange, Pierce, Big Spring, Fort Stockton, Lamesa and Pecos.
|Shamrock,Rusk, Edinburg, Dallas Downtown, Houston Tidwell and Rosenberg (FTEs reallocated to other/new offices)|
Funding provided was used to open 11 new offices, relocate 8 offices, remodel/refresh 6 offices, and add 16 FTEs.
|3 Mega Centers: Dallas South, Corpus Christi and Houston North
1 Large Office: Lake Worth
3 Scheduled CDL sites: Waco, Hearne, Kilgore
4 Scheduled Offices: Hebbronville, Pearsall, Ozona, Fort Worth East
|Dalhart, Denver City, Linden, Crockett, Presidio, Aransas Pass, Rio Grande City and Paris||McAllen, Houston Winkler, Boerne, Waco, Livingston and Perryton||Kountze, Atlanta and Corpus Christi (FTEs reallocated to other/new offices)|
Funding provided was used to open 22 new offices, relocate 11 offices, remodel/refresh 29 offices, 5 capital projects and add 170.3 FTEs. In addition repair requests, such as restriping parking, repairing pot holes, replacing lights and doors and adding security cameras, were made for 45 offices.
|4 Mega Centers: Edinburg, Carrollton, Midland and Houston Southeast
5 Large offices: Amarillo, Killeen, New Braunfels, Georgetown and Grand Prairie (opening June 2018)
3 Small Offices: Hempstead, Jacksonville and Flower Mound (opening July 2018)
10 Scheduled/ County agreements: Iraan, Post, Vega, Spearman, Cotulla, Lockhart, Marlin, Tolar, Madisonville, Hemphill
|Lewisville, Caldwell, Levelland, Castroville, Centerville, Marble Falls, Sinton, Andrews, Goldthwaite, Friona, and Fort Hood||Borger, Brownfield, Mineral Wells, Columbus, Sweetwater, Hillsboro,
Big Spring, Weatherford, Angleton, Marshall, Canton, Cleburne, Brenham,
San Angelo, Stephenville, Alice, Sulphur Springs,
Texas City, Pampa, Seguin, Uvalde, Harlingen, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Laredo, Fort Worth Mega Center, Garland Mega Center and
San Angelo Houston East (remodel due to flooding after Hurricane Harvey)
|Dallas Southeast, San Antonio Babcock, Houston Townhurst, Houston Vantage Parkway, Houston Grant Road, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Burnet, Copperas Cove, Marble Falls, Odessa, Alvin, Houston Winkler, Pasadena, and Clear Lake-Webster, Carrollton, Arlington, Granbury, Hondo, Midland, Georgetown, Jacksonville, Killeen, Austin Denson and New Braunfels (FTEs reallocated to other/new offices)||Gessner remodel and annex, Townhurst (ALR), Austin North West, Livingston and Lubbock|
A 4% budget cut was implemented. Two offices were closed and 108 funded FTEs were eliminated.
|Dallas East and Cedar Hill|
Commercial Driver License Issues
Commercial Driver License laws and standards are dictated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
While states have an informal ability to provide input through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), CDL regulations are federal law. If Texas disregarded the federal standards, our program would be out of compliance and FMCSA could issue a Notice of Non-Compliance resulting in the decertification of Texas' CDL program, thereby prohibiting the ability to issue CDLs to its citizens and enabling federal highway funds to be withheld from the State of Texas. This could affect the nearly 680,000 valid CDL holders and cost the State of Texas up to 4% of the federal highway funds during the first year of non-compliance (estimated at over $100M) and up to 8% of the federal highway funds during the second year of non-compliance (estimated at over $204M).
In 2011, FMCSA changed the standards for CDL testing to include a vehicle inspection "pre trip" test as the beginning of the process. During this process, drivers have to walk around the vehicle and determine that the various components are fully functional.
This test mirrors the report that every motor carrier requires every driver to submit each day the vehicle is operated. The reports have to cover: service brakes, parking brake, steering mechanism, lighting, reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wipers, mirrors and emergency equipment.
The report has to detail any defect or deficiency that the driver discovers that could affect the safety of the vehicle. The driver must sign the report.
School bus drivers are exempted from submitting this report daily. However, they are expected to know how each of the components works, and since they can drive other commercial vehicles within that class other than school buses, they are subject to the vehicle inspection portion of the test.
In 2011, FMCSA implemented increased standards for CDL drivers. DPS was granted an extension and implemented these regulations in late 2016.
A challenge with the implementation of the new uniform CDL testing standards has been the increase in the time needed to successfully execute a skills test. These new uniform testing standards, which have increased testing time from one hour to approximately two hours per test, now include:
In addition to providing the CDL handbook that outlines the process and contains all relevant study materials, DPS has created a series of videos specifically for school bus applicants. These videos are available on our website and have received thousands of views since being published.
As of April 13, 2019: Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Exam:
The videos can be found at: Commercial Driver License (CDL) Instructional Videos
Applicants have three options: they can schedule a test at one of the DPS CDL locations, can request testing from one of our CDL mobile teams or they can take the test through a Third Party Skills Testing provider, if eligible.
DPS CDL locations – DPS CDL locations can be found at: Texas CDL Skills Testing Locations
Third Party Skills Testing - In April 2017, DPS initiated a Third Party Skills Testing (TPST) program to allow qualified companies, certified by the Department, to administer the driving skills examinations for CDL applicants. As of May 2, 2019, there are 85 authorized TPST programs. Applicants, who are students or employees of these programs, have the option of testing at DPS or at one of the current TPST locations.
The Department provides additional TPST training sessions to eligible organizations on a quarterly basis.
Additional information on TPSTs can be found at CDL Third Party Skills Testing Program
CDL Mobile Teams – The Department established nine mobile CDL testing teams to serve customers outside of the 50-mile radius from one of the fixed testing sites. Approximately 6% of our potential applicants are outside of this area. The primary customers for these mobile teams are community colleges, school districts, education centers, fire departments, and other government entities. These customers may request mobile team services by contacting the local Driver License Regional Managers.
School Bus Issues
A school bus is similar in weight, design and passenger capacity to a Class B vehicle. Therefore, all school bus drivers have to be tested in a similar manner as other commercial vehicle drivers.
There are many myths about the CDL testing process. Specifically, this question comes from the new federally-mandated vehicle inspection or pre-trip test. The pre-trip test requires CDL applicants to identify key components of the vehicle as a "hands on" inspection. All information to study can be found in the Texas Commercial Driver Handbook.
School bus applicants specifically are advised to review and be prepared to test on Sections 10 – 13. Section 10, specifically related to school buses, begins on page 121 of the CDL handbook. A review of this section indicates the focus is on the safety of the child passengers.
Section 11.3 on page 137 details specific questions for school bus drivers related to: emergency equipment, lighting indicators, lights/reflectors, mirrors, the stop arm, passenger entry, emergency exit and seating. The goal of understanding each of these items is safety of the child passengers.
The regulations for commercial vehicles are established by the federal government. The State of Texas is not authorized to deviate from those regulations.
Failure to adhere to these standards could result in FMCSA issuing a Notice of Non-Compliance resulting in the decertification of Texas' CDL program, thereby prohibiting the ability to issue CDLs to its citizens and enabling federal highway funds to be withheld from the State of Texas. This could affect the nearly 680,000 valid CDL holders and cost the State of Texas up to 4% of the federal highway funds during the first year of non-compliance (estimated at over $100M) and up to 8% of the federal highway funds during the second year of non-compliance (estimated at over $204M).
Several years ago, Driver License leadership engaged the Internal Auditor's office to ensure that all funding was being used appropriately. At that time, the Auditor's office responded that the expenditures were appropriate, but due to record retention policies, not all related receipts were available, since they had already met the time frame to be purged.
In late 2018, the State Auditor's Office reported that DPS "complied with selected financial requirements for driver license funds outlined in the General Appropriations Act related to transfers."
DPS officially became REAL ID compliant (a federal requirement) in October 2016.
In an effort to reach out to the customers who are eligible to renew prior to the October 2020 deadline, DPS has begun mailing customers letters two years prior to their card's expiration date, explaining that they can renew up to two years in advance – and encouraging them to do so. DPS will mail letters to these customers every 90 days as reminders. These customers are a mix of people who have to come in person and those who can conduct their transaction alternatively.
The Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) is a program that has received attention by the Legislature, including discussions related to eliminating the program. However, currently the program remains in effect.
DPS is the administrator of the Driver Responsibility Program and receives 1% of all collections to administer the program, but that is not enough to cover the cost of administering the program.
The DPS Driver License Division currently has 43 Full Time Employees (FTEs) that directly support the DRP – 32 of whom are assigned to the call center; the remainder are Customer Service Analysts (CSAs) who help review files of the customers in the program. If the program were eliminated, DPS would repurpose those FTEs to other DL duties to reduce the current staffing deficit.
Yes, the Texas Transportation Code allows DPS to partner with municipalities and counties to issue renewal and duplicate DL and ID cards. By participating in this program, the county or municipal government can impose a fee of up to $5 per transaction. Currently 11 jurisdictions are participating in this program.
In FY 18, this program conducted nearly 7,000 transactions. This provided 7,000 customers with an alternative to coming into a traditional driver license office.
The Driver License Division (DLD) has Disaster Response Units (DRU) that were first deployed as a pilot during the wildfires in Bastrop County in 2011. DLD has six DRU sets divided into three deployable units. When deployed, the DRU requires space, electricity and internet (WIFI) to be provided by the agency being supported. The units are normally employed by the local emergency manager at a Multi-Agency Resource Center.
These have been used at the following events: West Fertilizer Plant Explosion (2013), Austin Dove Spring Floods (2013), Wimberley/San Marcos Memorial Day Flood (2015), San Antonio Nursing Home Fire (2015), Eagle Pass Flood (2015), Dallas County Tornado (2015) and Hurricane Harvey (2017).
Because there is no dedicated team to staff the DRUs, when deployed, those staff are removed from their traditional assigned duty station. Though they are typically used in a disaster relief effort, with additional staff for each unit, these could be deployed to provide additional driver license coverage in underserved areas.
Per the Texas Transportation Code, DPS is authorized to disclose certain types of information to requestors including:
The fees related to the sale of driver records are not appropriated to DPS.
In the Sunset Commission staff report, commission staff included a recommendation to "require DPS to develop and implement a plan to close inefficient driver license offices." However, the full Sunset Commission rejected that recommendation. That helped to form DPS' current Exceptional Item to fully staff all driver license offices, requiring 854 additional DL employees and 106.9 indirect employees.
The Exceptional Item request includes the one-person and scheduled offices, because if the one employee is sick, on vacation, has child care issues, etc., the entire office closes. These offices either need to be consolidated into larger offices, or grown into full-time offices with at least 3 employees each.
In June 2017, DPS cancelled the project for a self-service kiosk for DL. This project was cancelled for several reasons: