State Improving Temporary Registration Permits for Vehicles
HELENA – The Montana Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division is developing a computerized process to issue a new type of temporary vehicle permit. Five car dealers are now testing that process, Motor Vehicle Division administrator Dean Roberts said Wednesday.
“This is the first of many new electronic services that will streamline the way the Motor Vehicle Division does business and, at the same time, provide better customer service to Montana drivers,” Roberts said.
Rather than a form filled out by hand, the new permits are generated electronically, with a unique number and a detachable proof of temporary registration. The top portion is designed to slip into a plastic sleeve and attach to the rear of the vehicle where the license plate normally goes. The size of a standard license plate, the permits feature an easy-to-read, eight-character code to allow identification by law enforcement.
Traditionally when someone buys a vehicle, the new owner places a temporary registration permit in the vehicle’s back window until its regular license plates arrive. The temporary permit allows the new owner to legally drive the vehicle while the title and registration paperwork is being completed.
Vehicle owners usually get a permit either from the dealer who sells the vehicle or, if they purchase a vehicle from a private individual, from their local law enforcement agency or county treasurer’s office. In the future, permits also will be available from financial institutions, any county treasurer’s office and over the Internet.
“Our ultimate goal is to allow anyone who buys a vehicle to use this service,” Roberts explained. The process is being introduced in stages, with automobile dealers testing it first. By spring next year, someone who buys a car will be able to go online, get a temporary permit and print it, even on the weekend or after hours, Roberts said.
The first dealers to try the new process are Grimes Buick GMC, Inc., Placer Motors, Inc., and Kev’s Auto Sales in Helena; Taylor’s Automax in Great Falls, and Archie Cochrane Motors, Inc., in Billings. After the pilot project is complete and all agencies can issue the new permits, the division will completely phase out the old style permits. The division expects the transition to the new permits to take about one year.
Montana modeled the new program after a similar program in Arizona, where it has been successfully used for 18 months. TEAM 261 is developing Montana’s program under the direction of the Montana Department of Justice. TEAM 261, named for the house bill through which the 2003 Legislature approved the project, is charged with redesigning the driver licensing, vehicle titling and vehicle registration processes. The temporary registration permit service was cooperatively developed and is supported by the Montana Department of Justice, the Montana Department of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division and Montana Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment provider NIC (Nasdaq: EGOV).
NIC manages more eGovernment services than any provider in the world. The company helps government communicate more effectively with citizens and businesses by putting essential services online. NIC provides eGovernment solutions for 1,500 state and local agencies that serve more than 51 million people in the United States. Additional information is available at www.nicusa.com.
For more information about the new permit format, visit the Montana Department of Justice website at License Plates – MT Dept of Justice.