Tired of waiting in line for driver’s license? Ohio may allow online check-in

Published: Monday, June 17, 2019 @ 3:17 PM

Ohio drivers may no longer be required to have a front license plate on their vehicles if an amendment added to the state transportation budget gets approved.
Columbus Bureau
Ohio drivers may no longer be required to have a front license plate on their vehicles if an amendment added to the state transportation budget gets approved.(Columbus Bureau)

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have an idea to make the lines go faster at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles: online check-ins.

DeWine and Husted on Monday rolled out a pilot project at a dozen deputy registrar offices across Ohio, including in Centerville, to allow BMV visitors to sign up online to get in line. Once checked-in, the visitor has a four hour window to get to the BMV office and claim a spot in the physical line.

Related: 10.5-cent gas tax increase signed by DeWine

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Deputy registrars, though, have another idea: raise fees so they can hire more staff.

The state transportation budget passed earlier this year allows the BMV Registrar Charles Norman to raise transaction fees from $3.50 to $5.25. Norman has yet to exercise that authority to increase the fees, though it is under consideration, according to the Ohio Deputy Registrars Association lobbyist.

There are 186 deputy registrar offices in Ohio that handle 18 million transactions each year. They are independent contractors.

Related: Ohio set to ditch the front license plate requirement

As far back as 2009, the Ohio Deputy Registrars Association has asked for transaction fee increases. The last increase came in 2001 when $1.50 fee bump was approved and phased in over three years.

Meanwhile, wages and other expenses have increased and the demands for authenticating documents and identities have increased, deputy registrars argue.

In 2006, BMV computer systems began tracking how much time it takes to process core functions, such as issuing a driver’s license. It took 3.13 minutes. In 2016, the average core transaction time was 4.6 minutes — an increase the deputy registrars attribute to the heightened scrutiny required for document authentication and personnel issues related to being able to hire and retain good employees.