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ITD sets up ‘war room’ to find out cause of latest DMV computer outages

Computer issues have plagued Idaho’s Department of Motor Vehicles throughout 2017, and the outages forced the Idaho Transportation Department to close many driver’s licensing offices across the state.
Computer issues have plagued Idaho’s Department of Motor Vehicles throughout 2017, and the outages forced the Idaho Transportation Department to close many driver’s licensing offices across the state. Katy Moeller

Idaho’s Department of Motor Vehicles has experienced dozens of systemwide computer outages this year, including 34 that lasted 25 minutes or longer, according to a department spokesman.

The outages are actually slowdowns that prevent timely processing of information. Seven times this year they have lasted two hours or longer.

“That’s a severe outage, where we’re potentially closing down (for the day),” DMV spokesman Jake Melder said.

On Tuesday, the Idaho Transportation Department sent out a notice that all driver’s licensing offices across the state, except those in Ada and Canyon counties, were closing until further notice. On Wednesday, ITD said it had restored service to all but the Grangeville office in Idaho County, but warned their could be further disruptions. Registration and titling offices are still open across Idaho.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for the public’s patience as we work towards finding a solution,” DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez said in a press release. “ITD is devoting all available technology resources towards investigating the root of this problem.”

At 5:40 p.m. Tuesday, ITD announced that driver’s license offices in five counties would be open Wednesday: Ada, Canyon, Bannock, Kootenai, and Twin Falls. They warned that services at these locations are expected to be slow, as they test for causes to the computer problems.

Some good news: ITD will be updating its computer servers in the spring, and that’s expected to solve some of these problems.

Melder said there hasn’t been issues with outages in the past couple months, and the previous issues weren’t all due to one cause.

“We’ve got a war room of people working frantically to find out what this is,” Melder said.

For the past year, ITD has contracted with Indiana-based driver’s license vendor Gemalto.

“They are not to blame for all these outages,” Melder said. “The information I have doesn’t lay blame at any one party. There are issues of communications between ITD’s servers and Gemalto’s servers.”

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

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