Driving home a point

Three out of four state motor vehicle agencies do not offer people the

opportunity to conduct DMV business online, according to a study released

Thursday by Andersen Consulting.

At the end of last year, when the study was conducted, 13 states offered

online transactions, nine accepted online vehicle registration and seven

allowed people to order license plates electronically.

The study found Internet transactions save the government money. A typical

online transaction costs 10 to 40 cents to process, while a traditional

office visit costs $40 to $400, according to the study.

The study gave the motor vehicles departments of Massachusetts and Virginia

kudos for being progressive. In Massachusetts, drivers can go online to pay

fines with a credit card, handle registrations and buy special license

plates. In Virginia, people can go online to file changes of address,

create or buy a license plate, get an identification card, replace a

driver's license, renew registrations, request an administrative hearing

and order a copy of their DMV record.

"While significant room for improvement exists, some states do get it,"

said Stephen Rohleder, Andersen Consulting managing partner responsible for

the USA Government practice. "In our e-world, those governments that do not

migrate in this direction will be left behind."

The 47 state motor vehicle agencies that have created a World Wide Web site

use it to disseminate general information about agency services. In Iowa,

Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey and North Dakota,

that is the motor vehicle agency Web site's sole purpose. Thirty-nine

states allow customers to download motor vehicle forms, providing

instructions for their manual completion.

Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky and Rhode Island did not have motor vehicle

department Web sites.

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