January 13, 2011
QUESTIONS FOR MOTOR VEHICLE COMMISSIONER NOMINEE
By: Paul Frisman, Principal Analyst
COMMISSIONER OF MOTOR VEHICLES (CGS § 14-3)
● Enforces the motor vehicles laws.
● Oversees the department's operations, contracts for services, hires consultants, and holds hearings.
● Issues drivers' licenses, commercial drivers' licenses, non-driver photo identification cards, motor vehicle registrations, motor vehicle titles, and other documents relating to licensing drivers and registering motor vehicles.
● Keeps operator license and vehicle registration records and conducts administrative hearings relating to license and registration suspensions or revocations and DMV-licensed businesses.
● Licenses and regulates various motor vehicle related businesses such as motor vehicle dealers, motor vehicle repairers, motor vehicle recyclers, wreckers, manufacturers, automobile clubs, and driving schools.
● Administers registration-based enforcement systems relating to uninsured drivers, unpaid municipal property taxes, and unpaid municipal parking tickets.
● Administers the Connecticut motor vehicle exhaust emissions inspection program.
● Operates the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (truck weight and safety inspections and carrier follow-up), and conducts safety inspections of school buses, public service vehicles, totaled and rebuilt vehicles, and certain other vehicles.
● Implements state responsibilities regarding numerous federal mandates and interstate agreements on commercial vehicles, licenses, exchange of driver information, and other matters.
1. Critics complained last fall about the department's inability to suspend the license of a driver who committed a number of moving violations. DMV said it could not suspend the driver's license because the type and timing of the violations did not reach the legal threshold allowing for a suspension. What, if anything, is DMV proposing to prevent similar situations from occurring?
2. What steps has DMV taken to comply with Real ID by this year's May 11 deadline? Does the department intend to reintroduce legislation allowing for limited term licenses? Why or why not?
3. How effective has graduated licensing been in reducing the number and severity of motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers?
4. DMV has identified several department functions that overlap or duplicate functions of other state agencies, and has recommended, among other things, transferring DMV's customer complaint center and its dealer licensing unit to the consumer protection department (DCP) and moving its emissions inspection program and motorboat registrations to the environmental protection department (DEP). How much money would these actions save? How many DMV staff would be affected? Would these transfers, if enacted, require the hiring of additional staff by DCP or DEP?
5. DMV is engaged in a major effort to upgrade its technology with the Connecticut Integrated Vehicle and Licensing System (CIVLS). According to the department the upgrade is to be completed in the last quarter of 2012. Is the project on schedule? What is its cost, and will additional staff be needed? How will this system affect customer service and DMV administration? How will it make DMV actions more transparent and available?
6. Some states, such as Massachusetts and New Mexico, are attempting to reduce fraudulent use of handicapped parking permits by requiring that handicapped parking hang tags include a photo of the placard holder. Would you support that idea? Why or Why not? How would you handle any possible privacy concerns?
7. The attorney general recently found that DMV's oversight of driving schools was “minimal or non-existent” for more than 20 years. The attorney general said DMV should take specific steps regarding driving schools. Has DMV taken those steps? What other steps is the department taking to prevent this situation from recurring?
8. In their most recent audit of DMV, the state auditors repeated 10 recommendations they had made earlier and added another 12. The recommendations include: better tracking and monitoring of customer complaints; better coordination of internal investigations; improving the process for checking employees' criminal records; and improving the collection of sales tax from motor vehicle sales. Briefly, can you address some of these recommendations and describe how the department is responding to each of them?
9. To what extent are personnel losses affecting the agency's operations and what plans do you have to enable DMV to provide quality public services under those conditions?
10. What do you see as the major challenges DMV faces? Given sufficient personnel and resources, what initiatives would you most like the agency to take on in the future?