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November 2018

Positive government service through compassion

Anne Ferro Headshot

When it comes to how we serve others, we live in a small world. Someone you helped many years ago may cross your path again­—how you interacted back then matters. This fact is a hallmark of the AAMVA community, framed by the fact that our members touch every individual in your jurisdiction—rich or poor, young or old, famous or infamous.

At some point, everyone will enter your front door to get a driver’s license, an identification (ID) card, a vehicle registration, an auto dealer’s license, pay a traffic ticket or to sort out an issue surrounding one of those basic services. Even if you don’t work directly for the credential-issuing, traffic enforcement or adjudicating agency, your work touches someone who does. Understanding this, let’s begin the day with the questions: How can I help today? Who can I help today?

Sometimes, even the most routine transactions become personal and feel like an infringement to the customer, or an impediment to the person who’s supposed to benefit. People do not always understand or want to be accountable for the rules of whatever privilege they have received through your agency. And that’s when other strategies, like investigations, penalties or incentives, are used to leverage a change in a person’s behavior for the better.

The rules or restrictions in one jurisdiction may differ so much that confusion over which rule applies may lead to a safety or compliance matter slipping through the cracks. When that happens, the products and services designed to protect consumers and drivers don’t work. This is when the AAMVA community is in its element. Whether at an AAMVA meeting, on a working group or in an informal networking session, the AAMVA community continuously seeks new ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its work to improve the overall safety and well-being of others.

Two such developments are highlighted in this issue of MOVE magazine—ignition interlock systems and disability placards and plates. The first article highlights how a critical intervention tool in the fight against drunk driving may not be carried over when a person gets licenses in a different jurisdiction. The work of AAMVA members to find ways to improve reciprocity and standardization of interlock practices and restrictions will improve how this important safety tool transfers across jurisdiction borders.

As for the misuse of disabled plates and placards, fraudsters have taken full advantage of the sensitivity and ubiquity of this product, stymying efforts to prevent misuse. By coming together with advocacy groups and federal partners, AAMVA jurisdictions have identified best practices to improve the overall effectiveness of this DMV service that is so critical to the mobility of those who legitimately apply for and hold these credentials.

Ours is a people business. Each transaction involves someone’s mobility, someone else’s safety, or even someone’s outlook on government service. The most routine transactions include a human touch, and when we remember the humanity in our work, positive government service happens. It’s at the heart of what we do and allows us at the end of each day to reflect: “Who and how did I help today?”