Motor Vehicle Woes

by Melissa Brunner

I'm not sure anyone would call it a joyful experience to use a sick day or vacation day just so they could stand in line to renew their vehicle tags. It's become a fact of life the past couple weeks as the state's rolled out its new motor vehicle computer system.

I do sympathize with the computer glitches. It is a major change to bring a completely new system with millions of records into operation. I think back to our digital conversion and how big a task it was to switch out every cable and every connector in the building - there are bound to be kinks. However, that doesn't make it any easier to accept when you can't get the channel you want to see - or when you're the one who's been waiting in line for five hours, only to be told the computers are down, try back tomorrow.

Last week, the state said there were minor glitches that were fixed quickly and that workers just needed to become familiar with the nuances in the system. But Monday and Tuesday, they acknowledged problems causing slowdowns and, ultimately, by Tuesday afternoon, a shutdown. Techs installed a patch Tuesday afternoon they hoped would fix the problem. I'm sure people across the state are hoping it does.

On the bright side, the state did enact grace periods, giving people with expiring tags an extra month to get their renewals taken care of. That's certainly a step in the right direction because the problems are to the extent that it's not just procrastination getting people into trouble. Is that enough? What more should the state be doing?

I'm just glad my last name starts with a "B" - surely it will all be straightened out by next March?!



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