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Driver’s license, car registration troubles likely to continue into Friday

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a press conference with city officials at the data center today to address the ongoing computer software issues affecting driver licensing centers statewide.

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The servers in the data center.

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Jimi Xiao, at right, with his sister, Mina Abudu, came to the Kapalama Hale DMV for a new car registration and a road test yesterday. Both took a day off from work and were “upset” they couldn’t complete their tasks due to the computer issues.

City officials said they hope the computer problems that have shut down motor vehicle registration and driver’s licensing operations in all four Hawaii counties since Monday can be fixed by Friday.

As of today, driver’s licensing operations on Oahu were still down but other customer service operations, including vehicle registration, were back up and running, Honolulu officials said.

Representatives from Hawaii, Maui and Kauai counties, however, said this afternoon that their motor vehicle registration and state identification service, as well as driver’s licensing, were still not running. The city maintains the statewide database accessed by all the counties for driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, state identifications, and other services.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell told reporters at a press conference this afternoon that “the goal is to try to get everything back to where it should by the end of this week. Hopefully it will be before that, but just to be certain, by the end of this week and we’ll come back to you if we can’t do that.”

Keith Ho, deputy director for Honolulu’s Department of Information Technology, said the agency believes the system’s problems are tied to the existing security software. “We have all hands on deck. We have the vendor helping us to resolve the problem.”

Experts from vendors IBM and Computer Associates are helping with the fixes, Caldwell said.

City Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara said Oahu’s five driver’s licensing centers are partially closed.

“The (customer service) windows are shut but we are still doing driver’s license road tests,” she said. “So if you have an appointment, please keep them. If you’re trying for a walk-in, they’re still available.”

As of this afternoon, driver’s license renewal operations were expected to stay down at least through Thursday, Kajiwara said.

But other customer services at the city’s nine satellite city halls — primarily motor vehicle registration and state ID processing — returned this morning and were expected to remain at regular business hours.

The Kapalama Hale driver’s licensing branch will open Saturday to help with the backlog — assuming driver’s licensing operations are back up by then, Kajiwara said.

Vehicle owners facing June 30 deadlines to renew registration will be given a one-week extension, through July 7, to get in compliance, she said.

Honolulu Police Department Assistant Chief Clayton Kau said officers will honor that extension for registrations that expire June 30, but will cite people with expired driver licenses.

“The system is working, but it’s just working really slow,” Caldwell said. “So what happens is it starts to process the information of the user when you come online, and then it times out, shuts down, before you can get all the way through. That’s the problem we’re trying to solve at this point.”

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