tenYearsLater tall

december 2012

Ten years ago, in the fall of 2002, AAMVA staff canvassed our members to identify what’s next for motor vehicle and law enforcement agencies. They undertook this project as the U.S. Congress prepared to engage in debate on reauthorizing TEA-21, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. The result was a series of articles about emerging trends in the Fall 2002 issue of MOVE Magazine.

As we dive into the specifics of what Congress authorized in its recent highway law and prepare ourselves for the second year of our strategic plan, I went back to that issue of MOVE to see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same. No surprise that many of the concerns of 2002 remain top priorities today.

Ten years ago, our community expressed hope that Congress might authorize and fund DRIVerS, the Driver Record Information Verification System designed to achieve a “one driver, one license” concept throughout the country. Congress did not provide funding, but 10 years later, we have signed a contract and will receive funding to build the State to State verification service (S2S), a Department of Homeland Security initiative to improve drivers license security. Based on the CDLIS system, S2S will help us realize “one driver, one license.”

Ten years ago, our members were concerned with a changing environment—“Tighter budgets. Demanding customers. Increased security. New technology.” Our members faced a number of issues “that require a change in the way they do business.” Sound familiar? Those words are as true today as they were in 2002.

Training employees was definitely on the minds of our members 10 years ago, along with the question of how to pay for it. Jurisdictions were tapping into every resource they could find—federal agencies, various experts, online courses and AAMVA were all useful to our members. Our members tapped into our Fraudulent Document Recognition program, and yes, 10 years later that program is going strong and is used even more widely by our members than it was in 2002.

MOVE Magazine took a hard look at where e-government was headed and the impact on customer service. Agencies were hard at work developing ways for customers to connect with their motor vehicle agency through the Internet for vehicle registration and DL renewals, license plate inquiries, address changes, and access to forms. No difference from today— our members provide even more online than ever before, and are continuing to look at innovative ways to deliver services to customers.

With the North American Free Trade Agreement clearly in mind, we focused on Mexico/U.S. border issues and truck safety in 2002 as more than 11 million truck crossings took place between the U.S. and its neighbors north and south. Same concerns in 2012, although we have made great progress engaging federal officials in Mexico, and more recently, various state driver’s license officials in a growing dialogue on how agencies in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. can cooperate to smooth cross-border traffic and ensure safety throughout North America.

What about 10 years from now? Through our strategic plan, we’re setting the groundwork today to prepare for our future. With a focus on identifying tomorrow’s challenges and creating a thought leadership activity, AAMVA is dedicated to helping our members better navigate the future.

What will we write in 2022? The arrival of virtual DLs and electronic identity? The launch of a national e-titling system? State to State in full implementation? Quite possibly. Whatever it is, I’m confident that motor vehicle and law enforcement agencies will continue to play a critical role in road safety and identity management, and our members will continue to represent the face of government to citizens throughout North America.

Neil Schuster

AAMVA President & CEO