Testimony of Lucinda Babers, Director Department of Motor Vehicles Before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment
Mary Cheh, Chairperson
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
11:00 am – Room 412
The Wilson Building
Good Afternoon, Chairperson Cheh, Committee members, Councilmembers, and your staffs. 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 FY14 and year-to-date FY15 DC DMV accomplishments, 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.
DMV provides service to over 576,000 licensed drivers/identification card holders and 296,000 registered vehicles at four service centers. We provide adjudication services and collect ticket payments for more than 2.1 million tickets annually. We also conduct over 187,000 annual vehicle inspections. DMV interacts with DC residents and non-residents, with an average of 3,200 daily customer contacts—more than almost any other District government agency.
During FY14 and year-to-date FY15, we continued our efforts to streamline and improve service delivery. Following are the highlights of our past accomplishments.
In November 2013, we completed the implementation of a more secure credential with advanced security features, including taking digital photos upfront. We also introduced a central issuance process which further deters fraud. Our strong collaboration with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) enabled the successful implementation of this major project.
With assistance from the Department of General Services (DGS), we opened a new DMV service center located at Georgetown Park Mall on April 29, 2014. This facility, which offers licensing, identification, registration and titling services, increased our capacity to service District residents and allowed for the implementation of Limited Purpose credentials.
On May 1, 2014, we implemented the Driver Safety Amendment Act of 2013 which primarily allows for the issuance of limited purpose credentials to undocumented residents. We also rolled out REAL ID, a federally compliant credential with a star in the upper right-hand corner, on May 1, 2014, and we received full REAL ID certification from the Department of Homeland Security on November 17, 2014. REAL ID requires all District residents to recertify, in person, their proof of identity, proof of social security number and two proofs of residency when they obtain an original credential, renew, change their address or obtain a duplicate credential. It is important to note a resident’s existing DC credential remains valid for federal purposes until the expiration date. In other words, I’m good until 2020!
In terms of information technology enhancements, in August 2014, we implemented an online transaction to allow customers to request a registration of out-of-state automobiles exemption to prevent non-DC residents from receiving tickets for failure to display District tags. We also implemented an online process for customers to renew their various reciprocity permits; once again allowing customers to avoid an in-person visit. Our September 2014 introduction of free Wi-Fi in all DMV locations allows residents to remain connected while waiting to transact DMV business.
Another major initiative was the October 1, 2014 implementation of the Traffic Adjudication Amendment Act of 2013. To comply with this Act, DMV significantly modified the adjudication process to allow customers to request reconsideration within thirty days after a liable hearing decision and prior to the appeals process. Additionally, in limited circumstances, customers are able to submit a ticket for a hearing within 365 days of the ticket issuance date.
As always, prior to closing, I would like to provide the listening public with a few important DC DMV tips. To avoid insurance lapse fines and possible registration suspension, insurance must be maintained on all vehicles that are currently registered in the District. Therefore, prior to cancelling the insurance for a vehicle which you are no longer driving, please also cancel your vehicle registration by surrendering your license plates to DC DMV. This tag/registration cancellation can be done online at www.dmv.dc.gov.
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 which 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 dmv.dc.gov. Additionally, if you receive a ticket which doubles (i.e., has a penalty 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.
Finally, DC DMV rivals almost any motor vehicle jurisdiction in terms of online services with more than forty transactions. Therefore, 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 computers or Internet access. Furthermore, most online services can also be done by mail; however, you should allow sufficient mailing time.
Although we have made improvements during the past year, we are aware more is needed. Therefore, we will continue to move forward to identify and implement innovative operational processes, especially those aimed at reducing customers’ in-person visits. 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. We will now address any questions you may have. Thank You!