Questions Continue as DMV Debuts Software Upgrades

You can chalk up a lot of the initial backups at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles on Aug. 18 to the fact that DMV branches closed last week to prepare for the latest phase of the software rollout.

The question is, will we see hangups in the weeks and months to come, like several other states that used DMV software designed by the same company?

The Connecticut DMV has spent well over a half decade on its $26 million modernization, with serious delays. The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have investigated these problems in a series of reports.

DMV customers who spoke with the Troubleshooters, like Justicia Candillo, say they hope the new software will pave the way for improvements.

"Finally. Hopefully it's faster, they catch up with all the rest of the world," Candillo said.

But will it work?

"I understand data transfer," said DMV customer Judi Jordan, of Columbia. "It takes a long time."

The Troubleshooters’ initial investigation into DMV modernization found several other states that also used DMV software made by the 3M Corporation that had major problems.

Both Kansas and Montana experienced long lines at the outset of their modernizations, for weeks and even months.

Montana’s issues appear to have subsided. Kansas has still not completed its modernization six years after purchasing the 3M software. A state audit says the system was beset with incomplete data, disconnections, and speed issues in the months following the introduction of the new registration system.

Even with those problems mostly in the rear view mirror, Kansas severed ties with 3M and will roll out the drivers’ license portion of the 3M DMV software on its own.

"We can't go in with a system that is sort of half baked," Connecticut DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala told the Troubleshooters.

That mindset, along with lessons learned from Kansas and Montana, is why our DMV says it has taken a while to roll out phase two of its modernization. At the same time, the DMV commissioner hinted to the Troubleshooters he may reevaluate the wisdom of ever introducing the drivers' license portion of the 3M software.

"I think as a department we need to step back, look and do our due diligence, and find out, is the system that we are going to implement for licensing the correct system? Technology changes every day, and are we using the best technology to actually go in and do the licensing?" Ayala said.

The 3M Corporation had no response to the DMV commissioner’s comment. As for the rollouts of 3M DMV software in Kansas and Montana, a 3M spokesman says:

"Every project we do with individual states and departments presents its own requirements. It would not be a fair comparison to correlate this project in Connecticut with any others."

Contact Us