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Benson Touts New Changes To SOS Branch Offices

people outside building
Kevin Lavery
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (at podium) speaks Monday in Mason about new changes to more than 130 branch offices.

All Michigan Secretary of State branch offices are now offering extended hours.

Offices are now open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says its part of a plan to accommodate more customers and cut through the backlog of expired licenses and ID cards that have accumulated during the pandemic.

“We see more transactions happening every day, every week,” Benson says. “I’m optimistic that by the end of the summer; by Labor Day if not the end of September, we’ll be emerging out of this backlog, if not sooner.”

Speaking at the Mason branch office Monday, Benson also touted the state’s new Communication Impediment Designation.

It’s a program designed to help law enforcement officers better respond to drivers with autism or other specific disabilities.

Xavier DeGroat leads a local autism foundation. He recounted a traffic stop that influenced him to push for the program.

“Being told by police, ‘Hurry up, hurry up. Get your insurance card,’” DeGroat recalls. “Well, that stimulated me even more, sensitively, with the sirens going off, that I didn’t know how to react properly to the officer that didn’t properly come near me with sensory-friendly interaction.”

The voluntary designation is not printed on driver’s licenses or state ID cards.

It can only be accessed by law enforcement officers checking a driver’s record.

Kevin Lavery served as a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered before retiring in 2023.
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