ANNAPOLIS – Renewing drivers’ licenses through a countertop television is the future for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, its administrator says, but for now state residents will have to be content with shorter lines.
“You won’t see that in two years,” said Anne Ferro, MVA administrator. “But we’re building a foundation for it.”
This future is one step closer to reality thanks to the Board of Public Works’ approval Wednesday of a nearly $32 million contract with Compaq Computer Corp. to streamline MVA services. But for now, the MVA will still require drivers to apply for licenses at their counters, not yours.
Customers already can renew their registration online, by telephone or at kiosks the MVA has installed in malls. The MVA also posts some printable forms on its website for customers’ convenience.
New improvements funded by the $32 million will go mainly to the driver license system, according to Richard Scher, MVA spokesman. The system should save money and paper and make it easier to catch fraud and financial problems, Ferro said.
The centerpiece of the program is a one-counter system that would eliminate much of the waiting many people associate with the MVA, Scher said. Instead of moving from counter to counter for each part of the process, everything – from paying fees to completing forms to updating license photos – will take place at one counter, said Scher.
“It will move lines much, much faster and it should be a lot more efficient,” he said.
The one-counter system will make it easier for customers to update and check their personal information, but it also will make their records easier for government to track.
While customers are at the counter, they will be informed of any outstanding parking or moving violations or accumulated points on their record and the system will check the National Driver Register for violations in other states, Scher said. Customers say they’ll welcome changes that make doing business with the MVA a little easier. Richard Ruhf, an Annapolis architect, renewed his license Thursday afternoon at the Annapolis MVA office. He said the upgrades would make the process more convenient.
“It was not all that unpleasant,” said Ruhf. He said it took him 20 minutes to renew his license because it wasn’t very crowded, but he said, it usually takes a lot longer.
In the future, when the MVA can find an effective and foolproof way to screen people, you may see remote license renewal. Many of the details of the improvement are still sketchy, Scher said, because the General Assembly still has to decide some of the points.
That sounds too convenient to Tall Oaks High School student Karen Freeman of Bowie. She said there are many ways computers make life easier, but people should do some things themselves.
“I hate computers with a passion,” she said. “People need to get off their lazy…”
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