Sticker shock: Texans unable to renew vehicle registrations because of computer glitch

Posted Monday, Jul. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Motorists with expiring stickers got an unwelcome surprise across the state Monday when the vehicle registration system went down because of a computer glitch.

But state officials say that the problem has been fixed and that owners should have no problems with car registration and titling.

“We anticipate business as usual Tuesday,” said Adam Shaivitz, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman.

On Monday, motorists across the state could not renew their registrations and get new stickers for their windshields.

“We’re just turning people away when they come up with their registrations,” Tarrant County spokesman Marc Flake said. “The system has been down statewide, all day long.”

Computer problems have plagued the department in the past. In March, vehicle registrations were slowed for three days because of problems with the titling and registration computer system, which dates to the 1980s.

But Monday’s problem was related to network connectivity, not the computer system itself, Shaivitz said. The problem was fixed and the system was back up and running about 4:45 p.m. Monday, he said.

The computer system is in the midst of a major overhaul.

In June, the department contracted with Deloitte Consulting LLP to modernize its mainframe system, which holds nearly 100 million current and archived car records. The contract was for an initial three years and two one-year options to renew.

The state’s 254 county tax assessor/collector offices rely upon the computer system to process vehicle registration and title transactions.

Funding for the makeover was provided by a $1 automation fee collected with each vehicle registration.

“Texans deserve the most efficient and effective services from their state government,” department Executive Director Whitney Brewster said in a June statement. “Transforming the registration and titling system is a substantial step that will launch the TxDMV into a new era of excellent customer service.”

Law enforcement agencies and car insurance companies also use the system to verify vehicle information.

The Department of Motor Vehicles was created in 2009. Before that, the responsibility for car registrations and titling was handled by the state Transportation Department.

Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796 Twitter: @gdickson

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