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Idaho seeks cause of DMV computer breakdowns

The Idaho Transportation Department says it’s trying to figure out why motor vehicle offices across the state have been hobbled by computer problems for several weeks that have resulted in lengthy delays for customers.

ITD spokesman Jake Melder said June 7 that the department is working with its driver’s license provider, Gemalto, to find the cause of the problem. Officials are reviewing data to find out how many times outages have occurred and when they first began. So far, there has been no evidence of ITD servers or computers being attacked by outside groups.

“The department is committed to providing the best services to Idahoans,” Melder said. “These delays are not up to our standards, so we are placing as many resources on this issue as possible.”

Melder added that the department’s preliminary investigation found that the statewide outages tend to occur during peak business hours, resulting in the system in charge of processing information to crash. Rebooting the system can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, but sometimes much longer.

ITD doesn’t keep track of how many people visit DMVs each day in Idaho, but at some of their busiest locations, it’s not unusual to see nearly 1,000 visitors, Melder said.

Last year, Amsterdam, Holland,-based Gemalto — known primarily for manufacturing SIM cards used in mobile phones and credit cards — won a five-year contract worth around $950,000 a year. Shortly after being awarded the contract, DMV offices were closed for half-day increments to install new software.

Representatives from the company have since flown to Idaho to help the department resolve the problem.

A spokesman for Gemalto declined to comment or explain why their computer systems are crashing, citing that they could not answer any questions about their customers due to confidentiality requirements.

The company is a license provider for several states, including Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and New Hampshire.

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