LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A computer system glitch is causing some county clerks in Kentucky to turn away people who need to update their vehicle registration or renew their license plate.
The problem dates back to early July, when computer systems used by all Kentucky County employees to process vehicle registration transactions began to crash without warning. The problem has left clerks unable to process things like vehicle registrations, transfers, titles and tags.
“Here at the Clerk’s Office, that affects a lot of everything we do,” said Erran Huber, spokesman for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office. “It’s our ability to process titles, our ability to make sure licenses and registrations are up to date, the work we do with our dealers as well.”
The issue involves the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Automated Vehicle Information System, or AVIS. The system, which is 40 years old, is currently being updated.
“The current system we have with AVIS is a bit dated,” Huber said. “It was created in the 70s. It doesn’t even have a standard Windows interface that you might encounter.”
Since the initial issue in July, the system has broken down intermittently since, leaving the county clerk left in the lurch while dealing with the public.
“We do everything we can to serve every customer, but if the computers go down, we have no way to do it,” Bullitt County Clerk Kevin Mooney said. “If people are able to wait for him to come back online, then we will serve them.”
Mooney also said his office will notify people waiting in his virtual queue if the system goes down. Meanwhile, Jefferson County deputy clerks resorted to paperwork and keeping it for the public until systems were restored.
“We absolutely don’t turn people away,” Huber said. “When people come in, they can drop off their papers and we do things by hand. We go the old-fashioned way.”
The outages have also affected citizens’ ability to renew vehicle registrations online.
Outages are unexpected and can last anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, clerks said.
On Thursday, the AVIS system crashed for about three hours, but KYTC said the issue was unrelated to ongoing efforts to upgrade the system.
“KYTC’s license plate provider experienced a system outage early this morning, beyond KYTC’s control, which impacted AVIS system operations that depend on their system for data,” said a firm spokesperson in an email. “Once the vendor’s system failure was resolved, it triggered a problem with our mainframe that had to be identified and corrected.”
AVIS is expected to eventually transition to an entirely new system called KAVIS, but a spokesperson said that won’t be complete until December 2022.
“We think that’s going to keep happening,” Mooney said.
KYTC did not provide a timeline indicating when the current issues with the AVIS system would be resolved.
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