DMV may need ‘premium’ computer upgrade, state tech official says
The agency that oversees the California's computer systems is considering an upgrade to the maintenance plan for the DMV as a result of a series of computer malfunctions, including the one Tuesday that interrupted service for four hours, state technology officials said.
DMV systems also crashed in March 2012 and January 2011.
"We're having discussions with them about perhaps needing to escalate the level of service,'' said Adam Dondro, assistant secretary for the California Technology Agency.
"We've got a typical level of service on their site, like most of our departments and agencies. Most of our agencies can go down for three hours sporadically without causing a big public issue, and that is just not the case for the DMV.''
"There is nothing going on where they have a bad system,'' he added. "It's just the heightened need for their services, so we may upgrade to a premium service where there is a little more personal attention given to it on a regular basis.''
DMV officials said they experienced a "connectivity" problem on Tuesday for about four hours, from 8 a.m. to noon, which affected most services at its offices statewide. Motorists were forced to reschedule morning appointments, unless they were taking a driving test.
Tuesday's problem was compounded when AT&T made changes to a data site serving state departments.
"They did something wrong that shut it down,'' Dondro said.
The DMV is currently involved in a $208-million upgrade of its core systems. The process began in 2006 and is about two-thirds complete. The project has been plagued in recent months with defects in the computer programming, delays in key features being completed, and staffing problems, according to an internal status report dated Aug. 8.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Jesus Gomez gets his driver's license renewed at the DMV office in West Covina where most of the customers left after finding out about the statewide computer outage Tuesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times