Millennials Want A Digital DMV 0

dmv-lines conducted a study to find out what future generations want their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to look like. Findings were taken from an 8-month survey on This is what we found:

Privatization – 80% of respondents under the age of 18 were open to outsourcing some DMV services to 3rd parties. The next age bracket (18 – 34) came in at 72%. The older the respondent, the less open they were to privatizing DMV services.

Graph Showing Openness to Outsourcing DMV Services

Source: DMV Customer Satisfaction Survey by

Digitization – The view that the DMV should increase their investment in online services was relatively strong and consistent among age groups, except for respondents 65 and older. The millennial generation (age 18-34 in our study) overwhelmingly agreed that online services were a priority, with 90% of them being open to online investments.

Below is specifically what they wanted to see more of online:

Pie chart of wanted online dmv services

Source: DMV Customer Satisfaction Survey by

Future generations want to modernize the Department of Motor Vehicles through privatization and online initiatives. Although the message is clear, the feasibility of implementing these demands remains uncertain. Below are some factors that may get in the way.

Issues with Privatization

Political Support – Moving government functions to the private market can meet resistance from the left. When it comes to privatizing the DMV, however, support seems to come from both sides. We found no correlation among respondents from red/blue states and their willingness to outsource DMV services.

Scroll over the map to compare political representation with interest in privatization.

Source: DMV Customer Satisfaction Study by / Washington Post

Given the unilateral support, politicians could potentially complicate the process and make it a partisan issue. New Jersey tried to privatize DMV services in 1995 and failed to implement this successfully. The issue has come up again in recent years, where some Democrats opposed privatization for seemingly “political” reasons.

Visibility Concerns – Private industry is less accountable to show how much money they make, and how they make it, to the public. With the reduced visibility, concerns around conflicts of interest and exploitation inevitably arise, as they have at the semi-private Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) system.

Ohio has outsourced some DMV services since the 80s, which has generally seen a favorable response from the public. They ranked as the 1st DMV in the US for customer satisfaction in 2014, according to a previous study by When the state was considering additional privatization, concerns were raised over the visibility of the profits from the private offices.

Issues with Digitization

Identify theft – One disadvantage of online services is it makes it easier for somebody to pretend to be somebody else. Although most DMVs have systems in place to prevent this, the possibility of identity theft is increased as more services move online. This remains a concern for now but with advances in smartphone fingerprint detection and retina scans, the problem does look solvable in the future.

Security breaches – The California DMV has been a leader in offering DMV services online. They have also experienced significant security breaches in their system. Previously this year it was announced that MasterCard data was leaked over a 5-month period (August 2013 to January 2013). The data has then reported to be used in fraudulent charges in 2014.

Adding to this, concerns surrounding the heartbleed bug have not helped when it comes public acceptance of online security.

Final Thoughts

Only 56% of drivers were somewhat satisfied or more with their DMVs. Clearly, there is a need to modernize the DMV. People want a less bureaucratic, more efficient DMV, that doesn’t require taking time off work to complete a common DMV task.

Although there are some tradeoffs in switching to a more privatized and digitized DMV, the benefits outweigh the costs. Private and online DMV services save the state money, increase accessibility, and reduce customer wait times. The concerns listed above do warrant consideration but they are all reasonably solvable if handled correctly.

From their experience with modern corporations, younger generations have come to expect quality customer service and technologically advanced systems. They will demand this when it comes to interacting with their government in the future. The DMV will need to keep up with this societal change or we can expect even lower customer satisfaction ratings in the future.

Jordan Perch at G+

Original Article on DMV.COM

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