State hardware problem, not AT&T, to blame for DMV computer woes
Department of Motor Vehicles officials initially blamed "connectivity" issues with AT&T and Verizon for their statewide computer problems Tuesday, but after further investigation, it appears to be a hardware problem, said state tech officials.
"As we've conducted our investigation into what happened today, it looks like the issue with AT&T was not a configuration issue on their end, but rather a hardware problem with a state router," said Adam Dondro, assistant secretary for the California Technology Agency.
Problems with the DMV's computer system brought offices statewide to a near halt for four hours Tuesday morning as motorists were forced to cancel nearly all appointments.
DMV and Dondro initially said it appeared there were problems with service from Verizon and AT&T.
Dondro, whose agency oversees California's computer systems, said technology officials are now considering an update to DMV's computers after a series of statewide crashes.
"We're having discussions with them about perhaps needing to escalate the level of service,'' Dondro said.
"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 said. "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.''
The computer problem inconvenienced thousands of motorists statewide.
Zane Urquhart, 24, couldn't believe his luck. He had lost his wallet while grocery shopping Monday night, and then when he arrived at the Hollywood DMV early the next morning, the computers were down.
"It's kind of like a double slap from God," said Koreatown resident Urquhart, who was hoping to get his driver's license replaced that day.
About 9:30 a.m., the employee at the front desk gave Urquhart and others who arrived at the DMV while computers were down two options: Make an appointment for another time or wait.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento and Melissa Leu in Hollywood
Photo: A line forms inside the DMV office in South Los Angeles on Tuesday after a statewide computer outage that disrupted many in-office services to customers was fixed. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times