Idahoans looking to renew their driver’s license this week will need to change plans - and delays next week are possible.
All Idaho Department of Motor Vehicle offices will be closed Thursday, Aug. 9 and Friday, Aug. 10 to update their computer systems for issuing driver’s licenses and identifications cards. The system for issuing these cards will be transferred from the Idaho Transportation Department’s computer mainframe, which was established in the 1980s.
ITD headquarters will also close on these dates, as they also use the driver’s license records system. Facilities that don’t deal in these records, such as county assessor’s offices, will remain open.
The offices is scheduled to open again Monday, Aug. 13.
“We are very pleased to move to a new system that is designed to provide enhanced security and increased customer service to citizens across Idaho,” said Alberto Gonzalez, ITD Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator in a press release.
Gonzalez also said customers may experience delays following the reopening on Aug. 13 as employees adjust to the new Gem system.
Tuesday morning, Idaho DMV offices experienced a service outage in their driver’s license system that lasted almost an hour, one of many outages ITD has experienced this year, including at least 34 outages that lasted 25 minutes or longer.
These outages are the result of an communication error between ITD’s servers and Gemalto, a company ITD partners with to handle driver’s license systems. According to ITD spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez, the updated system is not a response to these outages and won’t necessarily mean less of them. Rather, she said the update is more focused on creating a more user-friendly and secure experience for customers and employees.
“With this new system, it’s now like any other website or internet-based program,” Gonzalez said. Customer service is our very top priority. This affects all Idahoans.”
According to ITD, these two days of maintenance are the second step in a three-part process to modernize the department’s systems, the first phase of which was completed in 2017 when permanent disability placards moved their availability to county assessor’s offices rather than the ITD headquarters.
The third phase planned for next year will involve moving vehicle registrations and title records from the old mainframe into the new system.