Something has to be done about the absurd, unlawful delays in processing applications, primarily initial applications. There are multiple avenues to address this problem, and the application/renewal process is but one.
tex45acp posted an interesting comment about the effectiveness of computer-based training. This is also used by the State Bar of Texas to offer CLE (continuing legal education) courses on the Internet. I also use interactive DVDâ€™s for flying refresher courses. Computer-based training and testing is now widely accepted in many disciplines, so I donâ€™t think it would be a radical idea to apply it to CHL courses - new and renewal. (Stick with me instructors, Iâ€™m not leaving you out of the loop!)
I would like to see DPS develop Internet-based CHL courses for both initial and renewal applicants. The fee should be minimal; just enough to cover the cost of creating and maintaining the system, so the enabling bill would have a neutral fiscal note. The test could be offered on-line after completing the course, or if security is really an issue, the test could be given at any DPS driverâ€™s license office, upon presentation of a certificate printed after completing the course. Fingerprints and photos could be taken, the application fee paid, affidavits signed (preferably delete them entirely) and the application can be turned in at the DPS driverâ€™s license facility.
Prior to doing all of this, the applicant needs to go to a CHL instructor who can administer the shooting portion of the test and provide the required certificate. The current course fees are so low that instructors should be able to charge the same or slightly reduced fee for the shooting test. Their profit margins would increase and they would not have to go to Austin for re-certification every two years
Going to a pure Internet testing and payment renewal system, without a background check and shooting proficiency test will result in the loss of some reciprocity agreements with other states, perhaps many. Much can be done to simplify and reduce the cost of the renewal process for CHL holders. Internet training and testing is one element.