CARSON CITY — Two new programs being implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles starting next week should make life a bit easier for a lot of Nevadans.
As a result of bills passed by the 2013 Legislature, the agency on Jan. 2 will be offering driver’s licenses good for eight years instead of four.
And Nevada veterans will be able to get a new license with a special designation reflecting their military service, making it easier for the men and women who served in the armed forces to obtain the various benefits available to them.
The new eight-year driver’s licenses will be phased in over the next several years.
Motorists born in even-numbered years will get an eight-year license at their next renewal. The fee is $41.25 and drivers will have to appear in person at a DMV office. The fee is double the current $19 four-year license fee. There is also a $3.25 card production fee.
Those born in an odd-numbered year will receive a four-year license renewal through 2017. Renewals for this group for the shorter duration licenses can be done via the Internet, mail or kiosk. The fee is $22.25. This group will get their eight-year licenses starting in 2018.
Eight-year commercial licenses will be issued beginning in July 2014.
Motorists age 65 and older will receive four-year licenses only because of requirements related to eyesight and medical issues.
The longer lasting licenses were approved as a convenience for motorists. Current law allows a four-year license to be extended for one four-year period. The new law will eliminate this requirement, which will also save the agency some money in sending renewal requests.
Veterans with an honorable discharge will be able to have their service noted on their licenses or identification cards next to the license number.
It will be the word “VETERAN” in blue placed next to the license or ID card number. Those seeking the designation need to bring a DD-214 discharge form for the next renewal or send a copy with a mailed renewal.
The designation has been implemented in more than a dozen other states. The easy identification has helped veterans gain access to veterans’ services as well as discounts at retail stores and restaurants.
“I think it is going to be huge for the state of Nevada,” said Caleb Cage, director of military and veterans policy for Gov. Brian Sandoval. “When I was with the Nevada Office of Veterans Services we had a lot of requests for a state-issued ID card of some sort.”
The new designation on a driver’s license will serve that purpose, he said.
In addition to discounts and other opportunities for veterans, it will give the state abstract data about where veterans reside, which will help in making decisions on where to offer and improve services, Cage said.
Assemblyman Randy Kirner, R-Reno, who co-authored the measure with many of his colleagues, said the designation will serve two purposes.
“There is the pride in serving, and it is nice to see our service recognized in this way,” he said. “But it will also give our state Department of Veterans Services a way to reach out to our veterans to educate them on the benefits they may be entitled to.”
An Army veteran who served in Vietnam, Kirner said he has already filled out the form to get the designation on his license when it comes up for renewal in February.
“Having the designation will open up a number of opportunities for our veterans,” he said.
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.