Updated January 25, 2021 - 9:06 pm
With it already being tough to obtain an appointment for in-person transactions at Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles offices, various avoidable issues are compounding the problem.
First off, the DMV is running a no-show rate of about 50 percent, meaning half the customers who make an appointment in Las Vegas- and Reno-area offices are not showing up.
“Keep it or cancel it,” said DMV director Julie Butler. “We’d much prefer that you come in and let us take care of you, but if you can’t keep the appointment, go back to our website and cancel it.”
Customers are able to cancel up to several hours ahead of their arrival time and the time slot will automatically open for another resident. This will help some who are facing long wait times for an appointment, as the earliest available appointment shown at Las Vegas area offices is April 22.
Those who do show up are being seen in a quick manner, according to the DMV. Customers who are prepared and on time are usually in and out within a half hour for most transactions.
Department offices in the Las Vegas area are seeing 700 customers per day, per location, on average, Butler said. On Saturdays, when walk-in customers are allowed for new resident transactions, DMV offices in Las Vegas are able to serve about 2,000 motorists.
Another issue tying up department transactions is customers using the mail or visiting an office in person for transactions that can be done online, in particular vehicle registration renewals.
Mailed registration renewals are taking 21 business days for processing after they are received, though a large majority of those renewals could have been addressed online or at a kiosk.
Further bogging down DMV employees are duplicate transactions. Many customers who don’t receive a quick response to a mailed renewal either renew online or send in a second payment. When this happens, it actually costs the state more time and money, as DMV employees must start the transaction, reject it, process a refund and mail correspondence back to the customer.
“We can’t say it enough. Use DMV online services or kiosks if at all possible,” Butler said. “If you do mail a transaction, expect a delay in processing and please don’t send a second payment. The kiosks can print registration decals on the spot and many of them take cash.”
Mailed driver’s license renewals take 16 business days to process, address changes are taking 12 days and title transactions are at 23 days.
Residents who have sent emails to the department’s main mailbox are waiting approximately 11 business days for a reply.
With DMV buildings still limited to 50 percent capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency continues to see staffing issues.
The DMV is working with its employees who must cope with distance learning, COVID and other health and family issues, Butler said, with vacancies and normal time off adding to the issues.
The DMV offered overtime in the second half of 2020, but is no longer able to due to budget constraints. Additionally, all state employees are now required to take eight hours of furlough each month.
The DMV has been chipping away at a mass of backlogged transactions that built up during the statewide shutdown last year.
“The DMV launched online driver’s license and ID card renewals in September,” Butler said. “Since then, more than 51,000 Nevadans have taken advantage of the new service.”
In November, the DMV did temporarily assign some staff from the field offices and other divisions to help reduce the backlog in mailed transactions.
To help alleviate these issues the DMV is looking to be more online-oriented, eliminating the need for in-person visits.
“Our big push, like many other businesses right now, is to drive our services online, so our customers don’t have to come into our offices,” Butler said. “The DMV’s top priorities are moving more services online and enabling more employees to work from home. Both of these will take some time to implement.”