Driver’s licensing, vehicle registration headaches abate

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SANDPOINT — Driver’s licensing and vehicle registrations got back on track in Bonner County last week.

The week before last was another story due to computer problems which froze up systems in the county’s licensing and registration office.

“It was affecting us. Customers were coming in and it just shut down the whole entire system,” said Sally Mitchell, who oversees driver’s licensing at the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office.

The problem also affected the vehicle registration system, according to Darlene Spade, who manages vehicle registrations for the Bonner County Assessor’s Office.

“I don’t think it was affecting us quite as a bad as driver’s licensing, but we were having downtimes every day or every other day,” said Spade.

The problem was not isolated to Bonner County, according to published news reports. The problem was emerging up and down the state.

“When the system goes down, we’re stuck. We’ve had to turn a lot of people away the last few weeks,” said Mitchell.

However, both Spade and Mitchell said the problems now appear to have abated in Bonner County.

“It is better now,” Spade said.

Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Jake Melder said the computer system was beset with 30- to 90-minute delays.

“It was occurring regularly so we think that there’s a systematic error occurring somewhere along the route that we’re trying to address,” Melder said.

The root cause of the problem remains under investigation, although Melder said the system is operational.

Melder said ITD is working with Amsterdam-based license provider Gemalto to pinpoint where the problems are and writing new computer code to work through the issues. Gemalto’s computer systems interface with ITD’s system.

“The ITD system interacts with the Gemalto’s system. We don’t know if the issue is on Gemalto’s end, on our end or in the communication between those two systems,” Melder said.

County officials are cautiously hopeful, meanwhile.

“It’s been really good the last week or so, but we’re knocking on wood. Hopefully they find out what was causing the error,” said Mitchell.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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