Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - November 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
TxDMV opens doors Monday, local services remain the same
Houston County Courier - November 2009
CROCKETT - Texas vehicle owners, motor carrier operators and vehicle dealerships began doing business with a new state agency Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) on Monday, Nov. 2.
The new agency, which will have more than 600 employees, will oversee the state’s motor vehicle services, including registering and titling passenger vehicles, granting operating authority to commercial motor carriers, regulating dealerships and helping to prevent auto burglary and theft.
According to Houston County Tax Collector/Assessor Danette Millican the process by which residents acquire their license plates, disabled placards, and related services previously provided by her office, will remain the same.
Four former Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) divisions, Vehicle Titles and Registration (VTR), Motor Carrier (MCD), Motor Vehicle (MVD) and Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA), will become the new TxDMV, an agency created in June when Governor Perry signed House Bill 3097 (HB 3097) into law.
The 81st Texas Legislature passed the bill that transfers vehicle registration and vehicle-related consumer protection and enforcement programs to the new agency.
Representative Ruth Jones McClendon (San Antonio), author of HB 3097, explained that the new agency was established to provide a more focused level of service to Texas citizens.
"Having a separate agency to deal with vehicle registration and permitting details will enable faster turnaround time to process vehicle title matters, allowing non-commercial and commercial vehicles to spend less down-time, and minimize loss of income to businesses,” explained Representative McClendon.
“Managing these administrative operations in one agency will make the renewal, registration, permitting, and licensing processes more user-friendly for drivers and vehicle owners, and keep waiting time manageable."
Victor Vandergriff, chairman of the board for the TxDMV, said that the new agency was necessary because Texas’ booming population growth has resulted in an increased demand for motor vehicle services. Vandergriff is a former licensed motor vehicle dealer from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Governor Rick Perry appointed him in August to head the nine-member board that will oversee the agency.
“TxDMV customers deserve the undivided attention of an agency specifically tailored to their needs that will help them get to where they want to go and enhance the already great business climate in Texas,” he noted.
Vandergriff added that vehicle registrations have increased by almost 1 million annually in two of the past three years, and today Texas’ more than 21 million registered vehicles is the second highest in the nation.
The motor vehicle business in Texas generates more than $4 billion annually for the state. The money is deposited into the state highway fund to help build and maintain the transportation system and the general revenue fund, which provides services for all Texans.
The TxDMV will now focus solely on the motoring public and its related businesses, allowing TxDOT to concentrate on its primary role to build and maintain the state’s transportation system.
Vandergriff credited TxDOT with setting a high standard of customer service.
“Quality customer service was a constant at TxDOT, and it will remain so at TxDMV,” Vandergriff said.
But the new agency will not issue driver’s licenses. That function remains the responsibility of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
TxDMV's role is to ensure that motor carriers meet minimum statutory insurance requirements to protect the safety of the traveling public and the transportation infrastructure and to ensure that motor carriers comply with consumer protection requirements.
Some of the services that will be provided by the TxDMV include Vehicle titling and registration, License plates, Disabled placards, Vehicle dealer licensing and enforcement, Motor carrier operating authority, Grants to law enforcement to prevent vehicle theft, and Texas Lemon Law assistance
Oversize and overweight permits will remain TxDOT's responsibility, including any administrative enforcement functions related to permitting.
In addition, the TxDMV will provide consumer awareness and education initiatives on vehicle registration compliance, buying and selling a vehicle, household goods movers, and preventing burglary and theft.