California Latest State to Offer Online Registrations

This spring, California 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, 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. 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

at a motor vehicle office but only $1.60 to renew it on the Internet. The

state estimated that Internet renewals 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. Three 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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