Computer glitch causes headaches at Pasco County DMV offices

Image 1 of 2

A computer glitch affecting the Department of Motor Vehicles statewide led to hundreds of customers being turned away from four Pasco County DMV offices on Saturday.

For the second weekend this month, workers noticed their system used to create new driver's licenses, car decals and process vehicle and boat registrations was down prior to opening at 9 a.m. Saturday.

They hoped, as with recent outages over the past few months, the problem would fix itself.

"It never happened," said Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano. "In fact, by 12 o'clock, we pretty much told whoever was left in our lobbies that it didn't look like the system was going to come back up."

Hundreds of people were unable to be assisted.

Those with expiring licenses were given "send away" forms, showing they attempted to renew their licenses.

"That would be horrible. I would not want to do that," said Justin Kneiss, who stopped by the DMV on Monday once the system was back up to get his learner's permit.

"I would say we would be coming back another day," said Joi Kneiss, Justin's mother.

For some drivers, a simple rain check just was not an option.

"Many people are getting on a plane the next day, and they need that driver's license updated. Many people won't be able to drive their car, because they weren't able to renew their registration. Many people who are maybe in the process of selling their car won't be able to fulfill that commitment to the buyer," explain Fasano.

Fasano said, with Pasco County being one of the few tax collector offices that opens its locations on Saturday, he often sees customers from areas like Ocala, Jacksonville and Orlando.

In late October, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (HSMV) announced that backup servers would be installed to resolve the system crashes.

State officials said it would be a temporary fix until new technology is in place by June of next year.

"We're working every day constantly on it. The systems are working now. We're confident that we can keep everything going," said Terry Rhodes, Executive Director of the state HSMV.

Fasano said despite the glitch being fixed by Saturday night, his Pasco County offices experienced a brief outage again on Monday morning.

He said he is concerned if a major outage like Saturday happened on a weekday in the DMV offices across Florida's 67 counties, tens of thousands of customers would be affected.

Fasano said despite earning no revenue Saturday, employees still had to be paid for working that day.

On Monday, he sent a letter to the state HSMV asking for reimbursement of those wages to his office.