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DMV FY '12 Testimony for Performance Oversight Hearing on Fiscal Years 2012-2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Testimony of Lucinda Babers, Director Department of Motor Vehicles

ON FISCAL YEARS 2012 – 2013

Testimony of
Lucinda Babers, Director
Department of Motor Vehicles

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
11:00 am – Room 120
The Wilson Building
Washington, DC

Good Morning, 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 FY12 and year-to-date FY13 DC DMV accomplishments, I would like to thank our customers, our employees, 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 506,000 licensed drivers/identification card holders and 284,000 registered vehicles at three service centers.  We provide adjudication services and collect ticket payments for more than 3 million tickets annually.  We also conduct over 191,000 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 FY12 and year-to-date FY13, we continued our efforts to streamline and improve service delivery to offset the increased demand for our services.  Following are the highlights of the past and current fiscal year’s accomplishments. 

For FY12, we had several goals in our agency performance plan.  In October 2012, we created a third Ticket Appeals Board.  Now that the board is up and running, we look forward to reducing the appeal time from twenty-four months to approximately fifteen months by the end of calendar year 2013.  Last year’s partnership with area law schools and this year’s partnership with the public school system have resulted in an internship program for assistance with triaging mail adjudications prior to review by hearing examiners.

In February 2012, an online sample test was implemented to assist customers with preparing for the knowledge test.  We also have implemented an online transaction which allows customers to obtain an insurance record of a vehicle in the case of traffic accidents.  Further, we have introduced a federally supported Commercial Driver License road test waiver program for military members.

We are currently in the midst of March Madness.  During this month, more than 1,300 taxi registration renewals are set to expire.  However, this year we developed a process to modify the registration renewal dates of over 1,000 taxis so they would not all expire in March.  Instead, the expiration dates will be spread out throughout the year to balance the workload and prevent significant customer wait times in March 2014.  Last year, we also distributed the for hire function to all three service centers to further balance the customer workload.

Our May 2012 implementation of an initiative to use hard tags in the place of temporary tags has contributed to a 40% reduction in the issuance of paper temporary tags.  There were multiple benefits with this initiative:  it minimized fraud, allowed us to collect excise tax upfront and reduced customer lines by eliminating the need for a second DMV visit. 

With the fabulous assistance from the Department of General Services (DGS), we are on track to open a new DMV service center located at Rhode Island Row in Ward 5 on April 2nd.  This facility, which will offer licensing, identification, registration and titling services, will replace our Georgetown Service Center which was required to close in May 2012 due to mall renovations.   Also, due to DC’s population explosion, we are working with DGS, and supported by Councilmember Jack Evans, to identify a fourth service center location in Ward 2. 

Another major project is the continued implementation of a more secure credential; this mainly involves imaging breeder documents and taking photos upfront.  In February 2012, we begin imaging breeder documents to allow for easier document retrieval and review during audits and investigations.  In another initiative aimed at improving identity security, in September 2012, we made DMV photos available to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Washington Area Law Enforcement System to assist with law enforcement functions.

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

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 to protect your legal right to adjudicate.  You can submit your request to adjudicate tickets online at  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, especially with the increase in the District’s population.  Therefore, despite these lean budgetary times, 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’ve 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!