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MVD backlog frustrates Arizonans as registration and license renewals are still hard to get

Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 23:01:20-04

Getting a driver's license or renewing a car registration on time has become almost impossible for a lot of Arizonans. Dozens of people are complaining about the state's Motor Vehicles Division, part of the Arizona Department of Transportation. That includes 15-year old Alyssa Thompson and her mom Kaija.

Since Alyssa passed her online driver's permit test, she's been waiting for the next step. Kaija says they were supposed to get a follow-up email about an in-person visit. However, they say that never came. Mother and daughter say they've been calling and emailing for months to get the permit so Alyssa can practice driving. It's the only way to get her license when she turns 16 in a couple of months.

ABC15 has reported on the COVID-19 staffing issues that have closed MVD service centers around the state. One of those that closed in June is the big call center at Perryville prison. A former inmate/worker told us at the time, precautions were not taken, and the whole group had to be quarantined. That call center is now open and ABC15 was told inmates do have masks.

But the problems continue. Three MVD offices were closed at different times just this month. ADOT says staffing is at 70 percent because of COVID-19. ADOT also says while it was able to help 14,000 people daily in offices before the pandemic, they can now only help 4,000 that way. Just in the last week, 15 Arizonans let me know they still can't get simple things done.

In an email to us, an ADOT spokesperson said, in part, "our biggest issue is rectifying the problem when we are hampered by an inability to ask someone to simply visit an office and have the problem corrected or our customer service phone and email lines are overwhelmed. In sum, our customer service 'safety valves' are being fully utilized."

They also say it is bringing in vendors to help with the backlog of mail.

ADOT says, "If you've renewed your registration online, that record will be accurate and available to law enforcement."

Also, they say, "People whose license expires between March and September of this year have an automatic six-month extension that's included on their driving record."

As for Alyssa Thompson, well, she finally got some good news. After ABC15 contacted ADOT about her situation, Alyssa did get an appointment and did get that driver's permit. Bring on the license!