Office of the Governor
McGreevey receives Final
Report from Fix DMV Commission
Recommendations focus on increasing security,
improving customer service and upgrading technology
(Trenton) – Following through on his commitment to make the Division of Motor Vehicles more efficient, secure and consumer friendly, Governor James E. McGreevey, Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, and the FIX DMV Commission today unveiled a bold plan to overhaul the State agency. The Governor was joined by DMV Director Diane Legreide, First Assistant Attorney General Peter Harvey, former Attorney General Cary Edwards, former Public Advocate Stanley Van Ness and former State Supreme Court Justice Alan Handler.
“The recommendations of the FIX DMV Commission are the beginning of creating a DMV where the people of New Jersey can conduct their business quickly, efficiently and safely and get the kind of help and respect they need and deserve,” said McGreevey. “I am grateful for the time and effort that Commissioner Fox, DMV Director Legreide and the Commission have spent in developing this report.”
“DMV reform is a cost of the war on terrorism and it is wrong to think that this agency can be turned around without an investment of new resources,” said Fox. “Reform will not come easy and it will not be free, but inaction would be far costlier.”
The $200 million plan calls for a wide-ranging series of security, customer service and technology improvements, including an end to privatization. Given the importance of the DMV’s charge and recent national events that have propelled identification verification to the forefront, the Commission made recommendations in three key areas of security, customer service and technology.
To improve security at the DMV, the Commission recommends implementing digitized driver licenses, establishing a DMV security czar and installing surveillance cameras, motion detectors, alarm systems and reinforced locks at DMVs.
To make the DMV a more customer-friendly agency, the Commission recommends instituting Saturday hours, creating a new phone center to reduce busy signals and wait times, and to provide nametags to employees and customer service training.
In an effort to make the DMV more technologically advanced, the Commission recommends a new computer system that will improve security and reduce customer wait times, a website that will allow for more online customer services, and to allow credit card transactions.
The Commission also recommends giving DMV the governance and funding mechanisms it requires to ensure successful and long-term reform. It urged the creation of a new Motor Vehicle Commission to oversee operations that meet customer, safety and security expectations. A portion of the fees generated by DMV services should be earmarked for the Commission for operational expenses, service and security. In addition, the Commission recommended the creation of a $150 million DMV Technology and Capital Fund, to correct the longstanding neglect of computer and other capital investments at DMV.
A new, statutorily dedicated, eight dollar Vehicle Registration Security Surcharge, would generate $50 million annually for pressing security and customer service operational improvements. Exempt from the surcharge would be senior citizens aged 65 and above.
The Governor charged Commissioner Fox in April to lead members of his Administration and a group of distinguished former Department of Motor Vehicles reformers to address systemic concerns of vulnerable security, weak document control and poor customer service at the DMV. The Governor established the Fix DMV Commission by Executive Order on April 25, 2002.
The Commission issued an interim report in August that addressed press customer service and security issues. Those recommendations led to more than 60 arrests, the removal of nearly half of DMV’s private agents, the completion of background checks on more than 500 agency employees, the development of a document fraud-training unit within DMV, the addition of law enforcement personnel.