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DMV working to erase backlog in registration renewals

Posted July 29, 2015

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— A recent equipment malfunction put the Division of Motor Vehicles weeks behind in processing registration renewals, but officials said Wednesday that they have brought new processors in to handle the backlog and should be caught up by the end of the week.

The DMV handles 600,000 vehicle registration renewals every month, and up to a quarter of those arrive in the mail. Workers can usually get the new registration stickers back in the mail to vehicle owners in five to seven days.

Recently, however, it's taken them 15 days to process renewals. They had to handle all mail-in applications by hand when the equipment died and couldn't be fixed.

"I can't hire enough employees to replace a remittance processor when it fails," DMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas said.

DMV employees had to work up to 15 hours a day and on Saturdays to plow through the pile-up – and handle calls from angry drivers.

"They were ready for their sticker, and we did everything we could to get it to them as soon as possible," DMV worker Anne-Marie Privette said. "I don't blame them. I was very frustrated."

Drivers have a 15-day grace period after their tag expires to renew their registration, and officials said tickets written recently for expired registrations on renewals caught in the backlog will likely be dismissed.

Still, officials suggested vehicle owners renew their registrations online to speed the process and not procrastinate when their renewal notices come in the mail.

Spokesman Jeffery Zimmerman said the DMV bought three new, faster machines and now has them working through the backlog.

"We're getting ready to get past this major headache, and we can move forward and know the customers can get their renewal in a timely manner like they expect," Zimmerman said.

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