DMV makes progress on computer issue, 11 offices still affected

AP logo
Thursday, October 27, 2016
This image shows an empty DMV office in San Francisco after a statewide computer outage on Oct. 26, 2016.
This image shows an empty DMV office in San Francisco after a statewide computer outage on Oct. 26, 2016.

FREMONT, Calif. -- Most of California's 188 Department of Motor Vehicle offices returned to offering full services Thursday following a catastrophic computer failure that crippled the DMV's operations for days.

RELATED: Massive computer outage affects DMV offices statewide

Still, 11 offices that deal with customers faced limits Thursday, including six that could not process driver's licenses or vehicle registration matters.

Computer struggles that began Monday forced DMV customers around the state to wait out what officials have called a "perfect storm" of multiple hard-drive failures. Some said their lives were put on hold while they waited to replace stolen identification cards or renew vehicle registrations on the verge of expiring.

The department's disaster recovery systems were not designed to handle such severe failures over a short period of time, DMV spokesman Jaime Garza said in an email.

DMV officials say the department may waive late fees for customers affected by the outage. They'll have to fill out a form or write a letter explaining why they're late.

Kennidi Beatie made her third frustrating trip this week to a California Department of Motor Vehicles office on Wednesday, only to be told again that the DMV's computers were still down.

Her purse containing her driver's license and checkbook was stolen from her burglarized vehicle on Saturday, and her bank accounts remain frozen because she had no driver's license to prove her identity.

"I thought I'd just give it a whirl every day. Sooner or later they'll have to work, I guess," Beatie said as she waited in line outside the DMV office in Roseville, 20 miles northeast of Sacramento. "I'm at, like, a standstill, so that's frustrating of course."

Garza said experts were working to repair the system and get office functions back online. But he did not provide an estimate for completing the work.

DMV officials have said the computers were not hacked or targeted. It was not immediately clear what caused the failure.

"Industry experts would characterize the events experienced in the DMV system, over the past few days, as 'the perfect storm,' and this is a series of events that the department has not previously witnessed," Garza said.

The offices were able to provide road tests for drivers and scheduled appointments for people unable to accomplish their DMV business.

People lined up well before the office in Roseville opened Wednesday because the DMV said things would be back to normal. Many were upset that systems were not working when the doors opened.

While the latest outage began Monday, some offices also had trouble Friday because of a scheduled security upgrade, Garza said.

Click here for a list of offices being impacted.