Registry slows license, plate applications

Friday, November 23, 2007

The National Driver Register keeps track of problem drivers.

Drivers in Cape Girardeau County trying to renew their license or license plates may experience trouble.

Service outages to the National Driver Register are slowing the processing of driver's license applications, while online license plate renewal for county residents is not possible this year because the computer system used by the county collector is outdated.

Driver's licenses

Applicants are screened through the NDR, a system that keeps track of problem drivers -- those who have had their licenses revoked or suspended.

Missouri has been using the NDR since 2005, but national usage has doubled in the past three years, according to David Griffith, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Revenue.

"With increased volume, outages are coming more frequently," he said. "Sometimes it's only down for five minutes, other times it's an hour or two."

Griffith recommends drivers call ahead to see if the system is working or renew up to a month early. When the database is down, no licenses can be issued. A driver can either wait for the system to start working or come back at a later date.

NDR, run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, prevents bad drivers from hopping states to obtain a license.

License plates

License plate renewals in Cape Girardeau County can not be processed online this year because tax information was submitted in the wrong format, Griffith said.

The county collector sends personal property tax information, required for renewal, to the Department of Revenue.

"With the age of our current system, we are having difficulties producing the file in the format that the Department of Revenue is asking for," said Eric McGowen, the county's information systems director.

A new system will be in place by March 2009. Until then, McGowen said, the office is working with the vendor of the current software and expects "to have a relative solution fairly soon."

Online renewal began in 2002 and worked until early 2007, McGowen and Griffith said. An upgrade to the current system in January caused formatting problems.

Once the Department of Revenue receives the correct information, online renewal can resume. Drivers can also renew their plates through the mail or by going to a local contract office.

335-6611, extension 123

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