Redesign the DMV

If you were given a blank sheet of paper and told to perform the function of the DMV what would you develop?

I’m thinking mostly of the function of licensing drivers to drive. Why do we even bother with paper tests? That probably made sense up to about 25 years ago. By now, given the state of technology, shouldn’t we be taking driving exams in simulators? There are good driving simulators that have been around for a while that could be adapted to this purpose. Put me in the simulator and have me drive for 30 minutes. Change the conditions to nighttime, snow, rain, fog, heavy traffic and n number of other random scenarios. Throw up different road signs and see how I react. Have me come up to a blind train crossing and see how I do on that. For beginning drivers, set up training simulators in various locations so they can log some number of hours before qualifying to take the live test. The beauty is that this can be some pretty long lived hardware. The basic function doesn’t need that much updating over time and even if it eventually does (self driving cars?) you drop in some new scenarios for that and you are good to go. The best part about this is you get good visibility about how I’m likely to perform at the real world function of driving. If I have developed bad habits over time, this is a good opportunity to correct them.

The other crazy thing at the DMV is entering all this data by hand on forms. That is pretty much the highest error rate way to capture information possible. Why can’t I fill stuff in on web forms, phone apps, etc that is just electronically submitted? For folks who may not have access to these means, you can put equipment at the DMV locations or direct them to the local library branch to fill out the forms. That can’t be any worse than either having forms mailed to you or going to the DMV to get the form. Realistically, I should be able to do all the back and forth remotely and then only have to show up for the bare minimum of tasks to complete the process.

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