Washington State residents with vehicle and vessel transactions due in December are urged to complete them by Friday, December 9. On Monday, December 12, the Washington State Department of Licensing will implement, statewide, a new state-of-the-art computer system for vehicle and vessel title and registration transactions.
The new system will replace a 30-year-old, text-based system with a modern system used successfully in several other states across the country.
The launch of this new system will have two notable customer service impacts before and after it is turned on December 12:
- Online vehicle tab renewal will be offline from December 6 until the new system is turned on December 12. Other vehicle-related online services, such as online filing of a report of sale, online vehicle or boat change of address, and other types of vehicle or boat online transactions or lookups, will be offline from the evening of Friday, December 9, until the new system is turned on December 12.
- Following the launch on December 12, customers may experience longer wait times as licensing staff become comfortable processing transactions using the new system.
Customer Service staff at the San Juan County Auditor’s Office have been preparing for this launch for months. Each staff member has completed two online courses, as well as a two-day, in-person, hands-on workshop. For the two weeks prior to the December 12 launch, the office is able to work in both systems in tandem, in order to practice using the new system.
Nonetheless, a change to a new system will inevitably cause delays in processing. Auditor Milene Henley is asking customers for patience in the days immediately following the launch.
“This new system will ultimately be a great improvement in customer service. It will enable us to take care of transactions that we previously had to refer to Olympia, and to handle more transactions on a more timely basis,” says Henley. ”But as with every system, processing will initially be slower, until staff become fully accustomed to the new system.”
Licensing customers can avoid longer wait times by taking care of renewals and title transactions at the Auditor’s Office by December 9, or online prior to December 6.
The new system, called DRIVES, is being rolled out in two phases between December 2016 and June 2018. The first phase replaces DOL’s obsolete vehicle and vessel titling and registration computer systems. The second phase, scheduled for June 2018, will replace DOL’s obsolete driver licensing systems.
When completed, the new DRIVES system will provide all licensing customers and business partners with better, more reliable systems and processes, provide more accurate records for law enforcement use, and allow for faster and easier system changes to support new or changing laws and business processes.