Clerk cites concerns as patrons stuck in online DMV traffic

Published Dec 4, 2017 at 4:00pm

Encountered delays when trying to conduct business lately at the Department of Motor Vehicles?

Oneida County Clerk Sandra J. DePerno, who oversees the DMV offices in Rome and Utica, says the state may be the culprit. On Friday, she issued an explanation about why going to DMV has been more time-consuming experience than usual at times.

One of the issues has been recurring problems with the state computer system that links DMV locations around the New York, said the county official.

“The system has been down statewide at least once a week,” she said in her statement. “My office has been told by the state that the web connections are outdated, the system is being updated internally, etc. and that is what is causing the outages.”

She says the the outages have an impact on customer services at her two offices. The Utica one has been hit most often by the problem.

DePerno said when the outages occur all transactions have to be done on paper and later entered into the computer after the system is back online.

“I find this unacceptable to our constituents and a poor business practice,”she said. “I am always pushing for our Oneida County residents to use their local services and keep their tax dollars local, but the state DMV has made this extremely difficult.”

State Department of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Tiffany Portzer said Friday that computer problems are handled when they arise.

“As with any large, complex system, DMV does occasionally experience technical issues,” she said in an email.” We immediately address any issues to ensure that all offices are able to quickly and efficiently conduct transactions.”

Portzer then commented on the situation in Oneida County.

“In this instance, a problem was reported by the Utica office earlier this week and was quickly addressed with an onsite visit,” her statement said.

In addition, DePerno said DMV customers are running into unexpected delays when they seek to obtain a REAL ID license document, which has enhanced security features. New York started issuing the REAL ID document Oct. 30.

“To obtain one of these documents you now need to provide all documentation with full legal name (first, middle if applicable and last). You also need to show any name changes through marriage, divorce or court order,” said the county clerk. “All documents have to be scanned to the state DMV Albany, NY, and the process takes anywhere from 30 minutes on.”

Those who want to apply for REAL ID must do so at motor vehicle offices, as the new form of identification cannot be obtained through the mail or online. Those seeking them are expected to bring proof of identity, birth, residence, citizenship and Social Security numbers when they apply.

DePerno added, “This change in procedure has been very frustrating to customers and staff alike.”  

State and county motor vehicle departments now have three license options available for motorists: standard, the new REAL ID license and enhanced licenses.

For those with standard licenses, state officials are advising New Yorkers that it is not essential to rush in for an updated license, as the current license will be accepted for boarding domestic flights until Oct. 1, 2020. Once that date arrives, the federal government will require that people must have a REAL ID-compliant photographic identification to take domestic flights or enter a military base or other federal installation.

The most versatile of New York licenses remains the already-available Enhanced Driver’s License, called EDLs by state officials. Those who hold them can cross into Canada or Mexico without showing a passport. They are also accepted by the federal Transportation Security Administration for boarding domestic flights. The enhanced licenses, being compliant with REAL ID, are also accepted by military bases and other federal properties.