Watch CBS News

Computer Glitch Leaves Drivers Stranded As They Can't Get Licenses

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A computer glitch made it impossible for Illinois drivers to renew their licenses for about six hours Monday.

Dozens of drivers who were turned away wonder what will happen to them if they are pulled over while driving with an expired license. It was a statewide problem but it was tied to a federal database.

Eric Hammond needed to get his license renewed and even took time off work to get it done. But after two separate attempts Monday morning and afternoon, he gave up.

"I'm more surprised that it has last this long if something goes down early you expect them to get on top of it and resolve it right away." Hammond said.

The six hour outage affected all of the open Illinois Secretary of State's office locations across the state. A spokesperson said it had to do with the Social Security Administration's system but was not in any way related to the partial government shut down.

They believe it was caused by scheduled computer maintenance over the weekend. It meant no renewals for anxious drivers like James Freveletti.

"I'm so expired it's unbelievable so I have to start all over again," Freveletti said. "Driving test, written test, vision test, which could be a major problem."

Karen Whitman, who moved to Chicago from Tennessee, was also turned away.

"You have so many days to get it," Whitman said. "I was at least able to get my car registered so that's one thing."

It's deja vu for drivers who experienced a similar outage in 2014.

That time, the outage lasted 12 hours and those who were turned away were given courtesy cards to jump to the front of the line when they came back.

Meanwhile many drivers said they wonder what will happen if they drive, given that they tried to and were unable to get a renewal.

"I hope I have a good excuse. I mean I do have witness that the system that I did attempt to do it," Hammond said.

But in a statement,  Illinois State Police said they can't offer a free pass.

"Per law, all drivers need to possess a valid driver's license (or permit)  to drive on Illinois roadways. We encourage drivers to seek alternate methods of travel if they do not possess a valid driver's license."

The computer glitch also lead to an issue processing passports but the Illinois Secretary of State's office said that system is now up and running.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.