Good news: The Idaho Transportation Department says counties can resume processing driver’s license transactions.
ITD earlier said it hoped by Thursday to set up a temporary workaround for the license system, sidestepping third-party software that has caused a string of delays and closures and drawn statewide ire.
Now, it is up to county offices to test-drive the workaround and see if it will work.
“The temporary solution is ready for business,” ITD spokesperson Jennifer Gonzalez said Thursday afternoon. “Dependent on the comfort level of individual counties, the recommendation is to proceed with this solution.”
Ada County was already back in business and processing driver’s license transactions Thursday afternoon. But the sheriff’s office there reported things were slow going.
Canyon County officials spent Thursday on some “limited testing,” said spokesperson Joe Decker. On Friday morning, the county said its driver’s licensing office was back open, but suggested the public may still want to wait a few days before coming in.
While ITD oversees driver’s licenses, state law tasks local sheriff’s offices with handling licensing transactions on the ground.
The state’s computer system and the driver’s license vendor’s system have not been communicating well. Numerous outages and a swell in public complaints led the Idaho Sheriff’s Association to write Gov. Butch Otter last week, complaining about the system and about ITD.
On Tuesday, ITD advised all counties to stop processing driver’s licenses until the problem could be resolved.
Otter on Thursday “facilitated a productive meeting” with the sheriffs, ITD, the Idaho State Police and groups representing Idaho’s police chiefs and counties, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“This is currently one of the highest priorities in state government,” Otter said in the release. “We have agreed to work closely with our partners in law enforcement and other affected stakeholders to identify, prioritize and resolve the issues creating backlogs and frustration at the Division of Motor Vehicles. To that end, my office is committed to getting the system up and running efficiently in the interim and ensuring the problems are fixed over the long-term.”
The workaround ITD devised stores county licensing data on a separate server during the day. That information is then sent to the outside vendor, Gemalto, at the end of each day, according to an agency explanation earlier this week. The goal, according to ITD, is to remove any need to access the vendor’s systems in real time, cutting out the source of the delays while customers are at DMV offices.
On Wednesday, ITD announced anyone with a currently expired or soon-to-expire license or identification card will have until Oct. 31 to renew it. The extension does not apply to drivers whose licenses are suspended.
If you have an expired card covered by the extension, you’ll need to carry a copy of ITD’s extension notice to show law enforcement or the TSA. The notice is available at this link, at DMV offices or by contacting ITD at (208) 334-8736 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who needs more specific documentation should contact ITD.