Online DMV services revving their engines
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jul 02, 2001
The American public's appetite for e-government has driven state motor vehicle
agencies across the country to offer even more online services than they
did 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 plate renewals,
citation payments or inquiries.
In 1999, the study reported that 70 percent of states offered just general
information or downloadable forms. In 2000, that number decreased to 40
percent. Concurrently, states offering only 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 popular 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.
Released May 21, the study was conducted in January and does not include
recent advancements. For example, Delaware unveiled its Division of Motor
Vehicles Web site in mid-April.
Berton said people should expect to see further substantial progress.
Two such areas may include traffic citation payments, offered only by Massachusetts,
and driver's license renewals, available in five states — Florida, Louisiana,
Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Vision testing is one barrier to renewing licenses, but he said states
could make those tests more accessible by offering them at multiple sites,
such as doctors' offices or vision centers. Currently, New Mexico is conducting
a pilot project of online vision tests, and more states may follow.
As more people get comfortable navigating through one-stop government portals,
and motor vehicle agencies become more proactive, Berton said, online services
will increase even more.