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Spending long, frustrating hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is as American as baseball. Unfortunately, unlike baseball, there is never a winner.
In the last month, DMV offices nationwide dealt with more than their fair share of difficulties. Californians were frustrated last month after an “internal connection issue” caused the state’s DMV website to shut down. An apology was sent to customers via Facebook — along with a request for patience.
In Kansas, a statewide computer system in its third month of operation presented some problems for the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Because of system crashes, bugs and maintenance troubles, the DMV granted a two-week grace period to customers who tried to register their vehicles during the months of May and June.
The Georgia Department of Driver Services issued a new set of requirements for license renewal earlier this month. With the new system, drivers are no longer able to renew their licenses online unless they have gone through the state’s new Secure ID procedure. Drivers who wish to renew their license in person need to provide legal forms of identification, such as a birth certificate, and proof of residency, such as a utility bill. Some customers waited more than three hours for service during the first day the new requirements were implemented.
While problems at the DMV are nothing new, three states are stepping up to the plate with timesaving technologies:
Twenty-six driver service centers statewide now include iPad kiosks called ASSETS (automatic self-service electronic terminals) that allow customers to renew or replace a license and then quickly pay for the service with a credit or debit card.
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) introduced the Motor Vehicle Network (MVN) earlier this year. Similar to systems in Maryland and Virginia, the Motor Vehicle Network uses televisions in DMV offices to show customers the expected wait time, let them know their status in the lineup and direct them to the appropriate window. In addition, the system allows customers to check the DMV website for wait times. SCDMV spokesperson Beth Parks says that the average wait time has been cut to “around 10 minutes.”
In 2011, Colorado launched their “Save Time, Renew Online” campaign to boost online license renewals and cut down on foot traffic in DMV offices statewide. The campaign also informs residents about the opportunity to register as organ, eye and tissue donors when they renew their licenses. Thanks to this effort, 109,204 Coloradan’s opted to renew online in 2011, up from 87,000 in 2010. The International Academy of Visual Arts (IAVA) recognized Colorado’s “Save Time, Renew Online” campaign with a Silver Communicator Award in the not-for-profit category at the 2012 Communicator Awards.
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