FILE - Interstate 17 Arizona

In this 2017 file photo, travelers take a break after a pair of collisions brought traffic to a standstill for some five hours on Interstate 17 in Arizona.

(The Center Square) – To keep vulnerable seniors out of crowded lines, Gov. Doug Ducey has tacked on an additional year to Arizona drivers' licenses that expire this year.

The executive order signed Tuesday defers standard driver's license renewals that expire between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, by one year from their initial expiration date.

"Arizona continues to focus on proactive steps to protect the health of our communities and keep our state moving in the right direction," Ducey said. "Today's commonsense Executive Order extends the deadline for drivers to renew their licenses by one year, helping reduce the number of in-person MVD visits during the upcoming months and protecting our most vulnerable."

The state's MVD centers have seen long lines in recent months, prompting the Department of Transportation to apologize for the delays and long response times. AZDOT said they're currently servicing 13,000 customers via phone or online daily.

The order gives validation to licenses that have expired since March 1 in the eyes of local law enforcement. Still, it's unclear whether federal law enforcement at the U.S/Mexico border or TSA would honor it. DHS officials weren't available to comment on the extension. Drivers may order a new license with an updated expiration date at AZMVDNow.gov after the information is updated Wednesday.

The state charges $25 for license renewal. Licenses are valid for eight years in most cases. Ducey's office didn't respond to questions about how much the state would see delayed over the year.

The order is the second extension Ducey has executed due to the pandemic. He signed an executive order in March extending licenses by six months to keep seniors and vulnerable residents from potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19. That moratorium was set to expire.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.