Last summer's DMV outages are resolved, Sheriff's and Governor's office say other problems persist

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 19:58:02-05

BOISE — The Idaho Sheriffs' Association is calling on the state to end the problems that are still plaguing the DMV.

Driver's license division outages, due to issues with an out of state vendor, caused days of outages, closed doors, and led to wait times around four hours in some of our states larger counties last summer.

The outages prevented Idaho citizens from renewing, or applying for Idaho licenses.

Now, sheriffs as well as the state say the system is stable, but that huge problem was just one on a long list.

"Right now we're in limbo. Whether you want to call it the Idaho Solution or the glitch solution or the workarounds, it's just that. We are walking a thin line; and we could go either way at any moment," said Sheriff Kieran Donahue with the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association.

The Idaho solution, implemented in the days following the ongoing August outages, was an effort by county staff and the Idaho Transportation Department to open office doors. But just behind those doors were long lines of people.

"This was the largest system failure in our states history. In our state's history. And we need to be avoiding it into the future; and we're not," said Donahue.

While the lines have mostly subsided and the and that system is stable, other issues persist.

"We're still having problems with the computers not connecting, we have some problems with the camera's not always connecting. It's very frustrating because if you can't fix it, you're down and people are in line," said Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland.

These persistent problems were even addressed by Governor Little in his State of the State address. And a recent statement from the Governor's office, Andrew Mitzel, the Senior Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs states, "The issues regarding the outages at DMVs last summer have been resolved. However, we are still experiencing significant wait times at some DMVs around the state. In an effort to alleviate these wait times, the Governor's Office and ITD are working on solutions which could include an online portal system for residents to get their driver's licenses."

"The DMV is working very closely on an online portal. It would be something, that again, would be a customer friendly portal, in which you could take care of these services online" said Jennifer Gonzalez, Spokesperson for ITD.

That portal is something the state aims to roll out in May, hoping that might solve the DMV problems. But Sheriff Donahue has some concerns, mostly that it won't fix all of the problems, and by that point, the legislative session will be over, preventing other solutions from being implemented until next year.

"Our big focus now is getting the word out about the STAR Card, Idaho's Real I.D.," said Gonzalez.

Which would put Idaho just months away from the October 2020 deadline for obtaining the Real I.D.

Sheriff Donahue says there are still discussions regarding transferring these driver's license division duties to the state, but at this point, nothing has been presented at the statehouse.