Online DMV services growing

Accenture 2001 State Motor Vehicle Agencies Internet Utilization: A Status Update on Customer Services Over the Web

The American public's appetite for e-government has driven state motor vehicle

agencies across the country to offer even more online services from a year

ago.

In a follow-up study to its December 1999 report, Accenture, a management

and technology consulting firm, found that nearly four times more agencies

are adopting the Internet as a way to channel customers to their services.

"The motor vehicle agencies are heeding the call of citizens, and that call

is that they want e-government as a priority," said Rob Berton, an Accenture

partner. "Reality is moving closer to rhetoric."

The agencies, which affect a broad spectrum of the population, are offering

more "choice, convenience and control," he said. They are moving away from

providing only information on their Web sites to offering online transactions,

such as registration or driver's license renewals, license plates, citation

payments or inquiries.

In 1999, the study reported that 70 percent of the states offered only general

information or downloadable forms. In 2000, that number decreased to 40

percent. Concurrently, states offering one online service increased from

25 percent to 59 percent, and states offering at least two online services

rose from 8 percent to 29 percent.

Online registration renewal is the most widely used transaction, with more

than 40 percent of agencies offering it, up from 18 percent in 1999. Massachusetts

and Virginia offer the most services, seven each, among states.

Released May 21, the study was conducted in January and does not include

recent advancements. For example, Delaware unveiled its online motor vehicle

department agency in mid-April.

Berton said people should expect to see further substantial progress. Two

such areas may include traffic citation payments, offered by only 2 percent

of states, and driver's license renewals, available in 10 percent of states.

Vision testing is one barrier to renewing licenses, but he said states could

make those tests more accessible at multiple sites, such as doctor's offices

or vision centers. Currently, New Mexico is conducting a pilot project of

online vision tests and more states may follow.

Berton said as more people get comfortable navigating through one-stop government

portals and motor vehicle agencies become more proactive in offering their

services, the services will increase even more.

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