Services are booked three months out at the Kootenai County Vehicle Licensing Offices. However, appointments for driver's license and identification renewals are open with dozens of options.
Idaho is one of two states that separate the two offices. The Idaho Transportation Department provides the equipment and computer system for motor vehicle and driver's identification licensing. On the county level, the Assessor's Office essentially manages the cars (registrations), and the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office handles the drivers (licenses).
This can be confusing for residents.
The Post Falls office of vehicle licensing has been closed since November due to COVID-19 infection and reopened just in time for a new positive case at the Coeur d'Alene office. However, both the Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene Driver's License Offices have never halted operations due to possible exposure.
"We've had complaints that go to the commissioners office about people not being able to get their driver's license because they're booked out for two months," KCSO Capt. Kevin Smart of the Services Support Division said. "This is a misconception. If you actually look at QLESS for a driver's license, we have at least 20 open appointments from Dec. 22 on."
Confusion has especially been noticeable from new residents in the community who are accustomed to joint departments.
"It creates a lot of hardship because we are two separate entities," Smart said. "We function separately and independently of each other."
Smart said there had been some small pushes to combine the departments, but they have not come to fruition.
The Coeur d'Alene office is separated by one doorway on Government Way, but it is still open. The Post Falls location, which is in an entirely separate building, is also available for drivers' assistance.
Smart recommends the public schedule an appointment through QLESS several weeks in advance to license expiration.