Chicago-area teens flock to DMVs for exclusive summer appointments

More than 2,600 Illinois teenagers are gearing up to get behind the wheel under a new program expanding hours exclusively for teens at Chicago-area DMVs on Saturdays, officials from the Illinois Secretary of State’s office said.

Many of those appointments were filled Saturday with the launch of the initiative aiming to streamline driving tests, permits and licenses for teenagers over the summer, the busiest time of year with school out, officials said.

The West Side driver services facility at 5301 W. Lexington St. saw a rush of teenagers early Saturday when it opened, an employee said. But visits stalled by 11 a.m. as a downpour of rain rolled in and stuck for the rest of the day.

“Today’s the first day, and I’m excited for this program for the summer,” Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias told the Sun-Times. “But I have a feeling this is one that’s going to continue to grow in popularity over the years.”

The Chicago West site is among 10 in the area where teen-only services are offered from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 31. The other DMVs, selected for their high percentages of teenage drivers, are in Addison, Aurora, Bridgeview, Des Plaines, Elgin, Joliet, Lake Zurich, Plano and St. Charles.

The program creates an additional 1,000 weekly appointments for nearly 9,000 permit holders who are on track to get a license this summer, according to Giannoulias’ office. The teen-only facilities have “selfie stations” where people can take photos after getting their license and learn more about data protection.

“We’re trying to help these kids have a good first experience and also help parents by giving them more opportunities to come in on a Saturday when it’s more feasible for them,” Giannoulias said.

To schedule an appointment, call (800) 252-8980.

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