California Latest State to Offer Online Registrations

California announced this week that this spring it will join states including Arizona, Arkansas,

Virginia and Louisiana in allowing people to register vehicles online.

The service is expected to be available to Californians in April. Department of Motor Vehicles

officials estimate that 7.5 million vehicles, representing 30 percent of the state's total

registrations, will be eligible to participate.

"We are the first major agency in California to get on the information superhighway, and it's

quite appropriate since we are Motor Vehicles," DMV spokesman Bill Gengler joked on Wednesday. "We're the vanguard in this area."

If the program works out as it has in Arizona, it will save California time and money. In

Arizona, it costs the state $6.60 to renew a vehicle registration an motor vehicle office but

only $1.60 to renew it on the Internet. The state estimates that Internet registrations save

$1.25 million a year.

Gengler said California had no projections on potential savings.

Only motorists insured by companies participating in the DMV's electronic insurance verification

program can renew online. So far, three insurance companies participate, but Gengler hopes more

will sign on.

IBM developed the system on a $2 million contract, providing the hardware, software, technical assistance and system monitoring tools. American Management Systems Inc. developed the credit card processing feature that enables people to pay the annual registration renewal fee online.

A similar IBM solution will be available to New Jersey drivers within a few weeks.

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