INDIANAPOLIS - More customer service improvements may be on the way for Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) customers thanks to bipartisan support from the Indiana State Senate.
Legislation passed by the Senate and en route to the House allows for:
- Online renewal of a driver's license for eligible customers (SB 391).
- More customer service options to be offered at community-based entities like auto dealerships, banks, and motor clubs (SB 459).
- Elimination of the five-year replacement requirement for Indiana license plates (SB 457).
- Streamlining certain license plates renewal dates for consistency and efficiency (SB 457).
- Extension of the expiration date of a driver's license for a 21-year old to 30 days after the customer's birthday (SB 511).
"We are grateful for the Senate's bipartisan support of legislation that will allow us to further improve customer service at the BMV," said Andy Miller, BMV Commissioner.
Driver's license renewal is the most frequently requested online service currently not available for BMV customers. A service that is available in 25 other states, passage of SB 391, authored by Sen. Earline Rogers (D-Gary), is the first step toward offering this same online service to Hoosier drivers, according to Miller.
Senate Bill 459, authored by Sen. James Merritt (R-Indianapolis), is a measure that will simplify the process of recruiting more auto dealerships and other private partners to offer on-site titling and registration services, especially in smaller communities. Currently, nearly 360 auto dealers, motor clubs, banks and emissions testing sites offer such one-stop shopping. But the current contracting procedures prevent small dealerships in many of the smaller communities from participating, according to Miller, an option that should be conveniently available to all Hoosiers.
Another bill that will help save money is SB 457, also authored by Sen. Merritt, which extends the time for license plate replacement. In testimony before a Senate committee, Miller stated that today's license plates are now made of more durable materials that can easily last more than five years. The longer lifespan would simply the process for customers and save the agency more than $1 million in plate production costs, funds that could be used for other state projects. The bill would also help BMV streamline the personalized license plate renewal process and bring renewal dates in line with other plates.
Hoosier drivers turning 21 years of age would benefit from passage of SB 511, authored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), which extends the expiration of a driver's license to 30 days following the customer's birthday. In 2007, as an added security feature for drivers under the legal drinking limit, Indiana adopted a vertical license for drivers under 21. To obtain a horizontal license while avoiding a late fee, young drivers must renew their license on their 21st birthday - not before or after. SB 511 will allow for the expiration date to be extended to 30 days after the customer's birthday to give the customer adequate time to procure the horizontal driver license given to those adults over 21.
"Through these legislative proposals, we believe we have offered a variety of ways to help improve service to BMV customers and save money by allowing more convenient one-stop service options, enhancing our online offerings, and streamlining our renewal processes to make more customer-friendly," said Miller. "It is our hope to receive the same bipartisan support in the House, so that we can begin implementation as soon as possible."
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