December 11, 2009

No more lines? Kiosks offer self-serve renewals for drivers

Writeup at Clarion on new DMV kiosks including nice photo shots of the units.

Story with pictures at| The Clarion-Ledger

noying lines associated with driver's license renewal in Mississippi could be a thing of the past with the state's new self-service automated renewal kiosks.

A person using the kiosk can choose to use the same picture on his or her card or have a new one taken. After a person pays with a debit or credit card, the license will be sent to the person's address in three to five business days.

The information sent through the kiosks are carried on an Internet connection, which means the machines alone do not contain any sensitive information, Simpson said.

Officials said the installations of the kiosks will not change how the current DMV centers operate and no jobs will be lost.

Address changes still will need to be done in person to prevent identity theft, Simpson said.

On Thursday, Earnest Moore of Jackson and a friend drove to the DMV on Woodrow Wilson Avenue to get their licenses renewed. He said there could be some benefit to the system.

"I like personal contact myself, but I can see how it can make it easier to expedite the process and keep everyone from waiting in line like this," he said. " You pay your cell phone bill with machines and everything else. I guess it's like anything new, you just have to get used to it."

On Thursday, Gov. Haley Barbour joined Department of Public Safety officials in Jackson for the unveiling of the kiosks as the latest measure to improve the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Over the next two weeks, kiosks will be placed inside Department of Motor Vehicles buildings in Jackson, Tupelo, Olive Branch, Hattiesburg, Gulfport and D'Iberville.

"Anyone who has ever used an ATM machine or touchscreen technology will find this easy to use," Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Simpson said.

Simpson said it takes less than five minutes to renew or replace a driver's license.

The kiosks are similar to those used for self-service airport check-ins and movie ticket purchases.

Mississippi will be the first state in the country to use automated kiosks for driver's license renewal, Simpson said.

"Hopefully, this will serve as a model for other departments. We need to use technology to improve service and save money," Barbour said.

Simpson said the state does not have enough money to purchase the system. Instead, L-1 Identity Solutions, the Boston-based company that created the kiosks, will own and operate each one. The company will then collect a $3 service fee, which is tacked onto the cost of every transaction, and use that money to service and maintain the system.

L-1 Identity Solutions has provided the state with other driver's license services since 2002, including the camera and computer systems, said Jenny Openshaw, vice president of sales.

"This is a first-generation machine. Certainly over the next couple of months we'll get input from the public and find ways we can improve it," she said.

Upon completion of the pilot period, Simpson said the state plans to roll out 100 kiosks by the end of 2010.

Simpson said he is not sure when the state will be able to purchase the system.

Michael Mazzu, vice president of engineering with L-1, said facial recognition technology makes the kiosks safe from identity theft. It takes about 90 seconds for the kiosk to check for red flags that may prevent them from renewing a license, including license suspension, he said.

Posted by staff at December 11, 2009 02:39 PM