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Politics & Government

Benson touts new changes to SOS branch offices

the exterior of a Michigan secretary of state express office
steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

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 it's 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. 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.”

At a branch office in Mason on Monday, Benson also discussed 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.’ 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.

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