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DC DMV Testimony before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Government of the District of Columbia
The Department of Motor Vehicles

Agency Performance Oversight Hearing On Fiscal Years 2018-2019

Testimony of
Lucinda Babers, Director
Department of Motor Vehicles

Before the
Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Mary Cheh, Chairperson

Thursday, February 28, 2019
11:00 am – Room 123
John A. Wilson Building
Washington, DC

Good Morning, Chairperson Cheh, Committee members, councilmembers, and staff. My name is Lucinda Babers, and I am the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV).

Prior to sharing the major FY18 and year-to-date FY19 DC DMV accomplishments, on behalf of Mayor Muriel Bowser, I would like to thank our customers, this Committee, and the rest of the Council for your support. We often rely on all of you to provide the necessary feedback that guides our decisions for service improvements. I also must extend a special thanks to my DC DMV coworkers whose dedication and efforts make it possible for us to service the needs of the customers. As I always say, I am truly humbled to serve with them and thank them for all they do for the District and Team DMV.

Mayor Bowser’s FY18 budget made investments that supported our efforts to deliver on the promise of our shared DC values. These efforts include creating economic opportunity, making our neighborhoods safer, and providing more effective and efficient government services. We continue that effort as we work each day to fulfill our commitment to provide every District resident a fair shot at opportunity.

DMV provides service to over 631,000 licensed drivers/identification card holders and over 307,000 registered vehicles at four service centers. We provide adjudication services and collect ticket payments for more than 2.7 million tickets issued annually, including conducting over 303,000 in-person and mail hearings. We also conduct over 171,000 annual vehicle inspections. DMV interacts with DC residents and non-residents, with an average of 3,000 daily customer contacts - more than almost any other District government agency.

During FY18, the Mayor continued moving forward on the groundwork laid in FY17 for positioning the District for future growth and prosperity as all agencies worked towards common goals and pathways to the middle class. In year-to-date FY19, we are continuing our efforts to streamline and improve service delivery. The following are highlights of our past accomplishments.

In June 2018, we implemented legislation that required DC DMV to automatically “opt in” residents for voter registration. This required major system changes to allow us to capture up to three addresses and various board of election-specific information such as whether the resident needs assistance at the polls. We worked with the Board of Elections to modify their portion of the driver license/identification card application to reflect an “opt out” section.

Effective June 30, 2018, DMV rolled out senior and teen websites that provide specific DMV information to these populations. The purpose of these two websites is to specifically target senior and teen drivers by providing information, updates, and tips geared toward their unique needs and challenges.
To afford residents an opportunity to voice their opinion and ensure accurate information is communicated to the public, DMV held four town hall meetings in FY2018, one in each quarter, in each quadrant of the city at our service centers. Accurate and consistent agency information is critical to ensuring residents can complete DMV transactions in one visit.

In another initiative to provide customers with information about DMV, the agency created 10 public service announcements that are posted on our YouTube webpage. The videos include topics such as how to obtain a REAL ID credential, how to contest a ticket violation, and how to title and register a vehicle.

In terms of online enhancements, with 55 online transactions, more than almost any other jurisdiction, we are quite frankly running out of transactions to put online! However, in FY18, we did implement the option for customers to receive text notifications for ticket-related issues and for licensing, registration, inspection, and identification renewals. We also created a mobile app for an optional customer vehicle registration card. This digital card provides real-time information related to the status of a resident’s registration.

We also increased the number of child car seat safety inspections by 52 percent (as compared to FY17) to ensure District residents have the tools and training to keep their children safe while riding in vehicles. The increase was due to having additional inspectors certified as car seat installers and increasing our outreach, which started in August 2018, for our annual car seat event at the Inspection Station on September 29, 2018.

In support of Vision Zero, by September 30, 2018, the driver manual underwent a thorough review and content refresh to provide a more user-friendly and helpful resource to customers. Additionally, at the request of Councilmember Mary Cheh and the District Department of Transportation, information related to the Dutch Reach and Hawk Crossing Signals was also included in the manual.

The FY17 budget contained funds for DMV to develop and install one self-service on-board diagnostic (OBD) emission kiosk as a pilot initiative. The kiosk will allow residents with model year 2005 and later vehicles to conduct drive-by OBD inspections at a location other than the DMV Inspection Station. Although DMV took delivery of the kiosk in September 2017, the installation at the Takoma Recreation Center will not be completed until June 2019. The delay is due to the need to obtain digging permits for the kiosk installation and to update the new Department of Parks and Recreation leadership on the project.

As always, prior to closing, I would like to remind the listening public of a few important DC DMV tips. To avoid insurance lapse fines and possible registration suspension, insurance must be maintained on all vehicles registered in the District. Therefore, prior to canceling the insurance for a vehicle you are no longer driving, please also cancel your vehicle registration by surrendering your license plates to DC DMV. This tag and registration cancellation can be done online at

There is often confusion among customers related to the functions of the various agencies involved with parking. The District Department of Transportation regulates parking by managing policy, signage and meters; the Department of Public Works enforces parking by issuing tickets; and DC DMV adjudicates tickets by allowing you to contest a ticket you believe was issued in error. If you receive a ticket you believe to have been issued in error, you must officially adjudicate the ticket, within the timeframe allowed, using the instructions on the back of the ticket or on our website to protect your legal right to adjudicate. You can submit your request to adjudicate tickets online at Additionally, if you receive a ticket that doubles (which means a penalty has been added), and you wish to contest just the penalty amount, you should not pay the original fine amount. Payment of any portion of the ticket is an admission of liability and prevents you from adjudicating any part of the ticket.

DC DMV is ahead of most motor vehicle jurisdiction in terms of online services with over 55 transactions. We encourage you to take advantage of these online services to skip the in-person DMV trip and avoid the lines. All DC local libraries have secure Internet connections to assist those without computer or Internet access. Furthermore, most online services can also be done by mail; however, you should allow sufficient mailing time for us to receive your documentation prior to the indicated deadlines.

If you are converting an out-of-state credential, renewing an existing DC credential or obtaining a DC replacement credential due to an address change, name change or a lost or stolen credential, you must provide us with additional documents. If your current credential does not have a black star in the upper right corner, which indicates your credential is REAL ID compliant, a federal requirement, then you must revalidate your proof of identity, proof of social security number, and two proofs of DC residency. The documents we accept are listed on our website and included in your credential renewal notice. Note, your existing credential is still valid until it is time for you to renew, so there is no need to make a special trip to DC DMV to obtain the REAL ID credential.

Finally, some new information. Effective October 30, 2018, DMV implemented legislation which ended our practice of suspending residents’ driver licenses for failure to pay a moving violation, failure to appear at a moving violation hearing, or failure to pay a moving violation after being found liable at a hearing. Although your license will no longer be suspended, it is important to note you still will owe the ticket, unpaid debt will be referred to collections, and points will still be applied to your driver record.

As previously indicated, for additional information on how to transact business with DC DMV, we have short, helpful videos on our YouTube Channel, which is available on our website at

Although we have continued to make improvements during the past year, we are aware more is always needed. Therefore, we will continue to move forward to identify and implement innovative operational processes, especially those aimed at reducing customers’ in-person visits and streamlining processes and procedures. Again, we appreciate the support we have received from the Council and look forward to continuing our efforts to improve the quality of service to the residents of the District of Columbia. Lastly, we would like to thank Mayor Bowser for her continued leadership and commitment to good government and accountability. We will now address any questions you may have. Thank you!