"Fix DMV" reforms to become law
(Trenton) – Less than a year after Gov. James E. McGreevey made it a priority of his new administration, measures to “Fix DMV” will soon become law.
Both Houses of the State Legislature voted on Thursday to adopt comprehensive reforms that will allow the Division of Motor Vehicles to implement initiatives to address lapses in security and improve customer service. The vote clears the way for Gov. McGreevey to sign the bill into law and allow DMV to initiate the recommendations of its “Fix DMV” report.
The “Fix DMV” bill, officially known as the Motor Vehicle Security and Customer Service Act, was introduced to the Senate last November. The legislation will increase the annual motor vehicle registration fees by $7 to fund the reform measures.
“Today is an important day for the Division of Motor Vehicles and the people of New Jersey,” said Acting Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. “Less than a year ago, Governor McGreevey committed to fixing this critical agency. Thanks to the Governor’s vision and the cooperation and support of the Legislature, we now have the necessary tools to get the job done.”
“I am happy to be able move ahead and implement all the solutions we have been working on for the past year to fix DMV,” said DMV Director Diane Legreide. “It took fifteen years of neglect to bring DMV to its knees, and it’s going take a while to rebuild the agency. This bill will allow us to finally fix DMV.”
The agency has suffered more than a decade of neglect. Years of inadequate funding, antiquated technology, an untrained workforce and a high turnover of employees have resulted in poor customer service and several incidents of fraud and corruption.
Last spring, the governor appointed a “Fix DMV” Commission to develop a comprehensive, detailed plan for improvement. Legislation was introduced in November to mandate efforts to overhaul the agency.
DMV has already begun its customer service initiatives, including the first phase of DMV-mandated customer service training and the issuance of employee nametags.
The agency plans to establish a greater police presence and install new security cameras, alarms and locks in every agency to thwart corruption and fraud.
The supervisors of 27 of the 45 statewide DMV agencies have been replaced because of poor customer service and improper business practices. The new motor vehicle agents all possess the required educational and experience qualifications needed to run a professional DMV agency.
DMV will also begin lay the groundwork to implement plans to open agencies on Saturdays, create a new telephone information center and expand online services in an effort to create more options for customers.
“We have eagerly embraced the challenge to better serve the people of this state,” Legreide said. “Now, the real work begins.”