New drivers will now have to pay for a copy of the state driving manual. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has begun collecting a $5 fee for the manuals, which have previously been issued for free.
DMV spokeswoman Beth Parks explained why the new fee had to be put in place, “It’s expensive to produce these manuals. It’s expensive to have them sent out.”
Parks said the economy played a big part in the reasoning behind adding the new fee. She says it is a necessary charge, “Like every other business we are affected by the economy. If people aren’t buying cars we don’t collect fees.”
“The proviso that allows DMV to charge for the manuals has been around for years, but DMV has never used it,” said DMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo. “With today’s economy, we have very few options. Unlike most state agencies, we don’t receive appropriated funds.
Parks also explained the DMV has had to sacrifice their employees over the past four years due to a “hiring freeze.” This freeze means that if an employee leaves a DMV office in SC, no one is to be hired in their place. It’s an effort to save money. She said the DMV has lost 20% of its workforce since 2007.
However, Parks says the manuals are available online at no charge. Plus, schools and county libraries will also continue to receive manuals for free.
South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report.