Indiana BMV gets top honors


Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - Workers from Indiana's BMV got a surprise at Lucas Oil Stadium Monday. The agency was awarded for the best customer service in North America by its industry.

The big announcement to celebrate the decades long fix to broken branches comes as the agency handles its latest glitch.

Over the last decade, the agency was considered the worst, and a driving pain for five different commissioners (Gary Gibson, Gerald Coleman, Mary DePrez, Joel Silverman, Ron Stiver) because of extensive wait times, poor customer service and rampant fraud.

But on Monday, the state basked in history making recognition. Indiana's BMV is now considered one of the best in the business by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. 

"For the second time in three years, first time for any state has ever achieved this, this year's winner of the International Customer Service Award, best BMV anywhere on the planet is the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles," Gov. Mitch Daniels announced to a cheering crowd of employees.

There were cheers for lower wait times. The average service transaction was down from 12 minutes 15 seconds in 2007, to about eight minutes, ten seconds in 2010. A decline despite Indiana's move to a more Secure ID process.

The BMV has also processed more than 860,000 credentials, with new facial recognition technology and survived a lawsuit over its use of Social Security numbers for verification.

But the governor admits, his administration didn't always get it right. Take the computer glitch of 2006.

"We made a couple of goofs early on, that was a part of it. Really a change of this magnitude was made with dozens of dozens of improvements," conceded the governor.

Now come the public accolades for workers who stayed the course.

For a month, the award was a well-guarded secret. But two weeks ago, the good news was challenged by a mix-up that the agency feared could undo its newfound reputation.

The agency discovered driver's licenses for two motorists were mailed to the wrong addresses.

Workers spent an entire Saturday calling customers to find out if other mistakes were made.

"Their card got inserted into the wrong envelope," Commissioner Andy Miller told Eyewitness News. "We isolated the problem and realized it was just those two, took care of it right away, dealt with those folks. So again very unfortunate, but in the grand scheme of 860,000, we feel pretty good," Miller said.

"It's not like we've eliminated every glitch so, that's what we always tell them maybe we're the best around now, but there's always a way to get better," said the governor in response to the recent problem.

Indiana BMV