Pandemic helped speed the transformation of the West Virginia DMV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Changes forced on the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles by the pandemic have actually pushed the agency into the modern era and some of the adjustments will become permanent.

“The West Virginia DMV has advanced in technology, 20 to 25 years within the past two and a half years,” said DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier.

Frazier got the job in 2020 and now admits, he didn’t realize the scope of the agency’s authority when he took over.

“I thought it was driver license and license plates. It’s a whole lot more,” he said.

Frazier also knew the agency, as in all other states, had a negative stigma. He’s fought hard to change that and believes they have made strides.

“We are making strides to take away that persona. When we have a problem it is addressed immediately,” he said.

The agency was slowly evolving and the evolution into the technology age was sped up when the pandemic put many restrictions on the agency. Although people couldn’t have face to face interactions, they still needed license, CDL’s, car titles, and car dealers still needed to handle liens and business with their customers. It forced a lot of the business onto the internet. What couldn’t be done online was limited to appointments. The appointments are here to stay.

“Some people like the appointment system and some don’t, but the people who like it are in and out of an office in 10 to 15 minutes tops,” he said.

The agency still takes walk-ins, but gives priority to those who have an appointment.

Other initiatives created in response to the pandemic were reinstatement of a call center to answer customer questions, creation of a contactless driving skills test, increased online services to allow customers to conduct many of their transactions from home, and the use of drop boxes at regional offices to leave title and registration documents, online knowledge testing.

According to Frazier, the agency has other ideas in the works to make things even more streamlined for customers.

–Modernizing outdated mainframe-based technology.

–Promoting the usage of the online transactions through the DMV website.

–Implementing a new, more convenient International Registration Plan (IRP) solution that will allow customers to perform IRP transactions online as well as from a mobile device. This will also provide customers with real time Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration updates made directly to their mobile devices.

–Adding online renewal of a dealer license for West Virginia Automobile Dealers to our current web services.
Implementing the mobile ID, which is already gaining traction in some states.

–Expanding the availability of web-based business processes and increase the use of online self-service transactions by 5% each year. Improving the safety of the motoring public through public awareness initiatives and driver rehabilitation.

–Developing a customer-centric business system to replace outdated standalone databases to provide state-of-the-art motor vehicle services to customers in an efficient and cost-effective manner by the end of FY 2022.

–Completing the e-citation interface which will allow DMV to electronically import municipal and other court convictions.

–Adding duplicate titles and the ability to check a title status to our online services. Additionally, a fees calculator is scheduled to be added online.

“There are some things in the pipeline, I’ll keep them on the down low, but there are some good things coming,” he said.

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