The Mississippi Legislative PEER Committee has released its report titled “Review of the Department of Public Safety Driver Service Bureau’s Management of Customer Service Delivery.”
Some of the Committee’s major findings include:
On average, customers’ wait times to obtain drivers’ licenses or ID card renewal services from Department of Public Safety (DPS) Driver Service Bureau field offices tripled between Fiscal Year 2017 and Fiscal Year 2019.
The increase in wait times is attributable, in part, to an increase in the vacancy rate for examiner positions, for instance, 20 percent vacant positions in June 2018 to 30 percent vacant positions in June 2019.
The development and implementation of a new computer system with demanding documentation features that lessen examiners’ flexibility in processing transactions has contributed to wait times. In addition, training necessary to operate the new computer system and changing documentation requirements have challenged the Bureau’s examiners.
As a result of the new computer system, processing times for routine transactions, such as driver’s license, ID card, and CDL renewals, have increased 40-50 percent.
The Bureau maintains 11 kiosks for self-service; however, the kiosks have functionality issues that inhibit their usefulness. In addition, the Bureau’s website contained outdated information and forms that prevented customers from being prepared to receive services at the Bureau’s field offices.
In general, Mississippi’s contiguous states offer better driver face-to-face and online services than the DPS Driver Service Bureau.
DPS has taken steps, such as filling vacant examiner positions and implementing appointment scheduling, that should lessen customer wait times in the foreseeable future. There are other functionality and analytical steps that DPS should take to improve customer service and reduce wait times.