Driver and Vehicle Services snafu could affect 350,000 drivers

DVS insists drivers who renew their registration online or by mail should not be charged for expired tags if pulled over by authorities.

Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services/Facebook

(Center of the American Experiment) — It’s safe to say that it’s always something at the Driver and Vehicle Services. And you can be sure whatever that something is, it will usually inconvenience thousands or more Minnesotans who depend on DVS to get where they’re going legally.

For example, the agency continues to slog away at reopening dozens of exam stations closed nearly two years ago due to the pandemic, forcing many rural residents to travel much farther than necessary. The Department of Public Safety division is now shooting to finally have the doors open at those locations by the end of January 2022.

The latest fiasco involves more than 350,000 vehicles and their owners, prompting a special notification on the DVS website. For once, the onus for the problem doesn’t just fall on DVS, according to a state news release.

“Customers who renew their 2022 vehicle registration online or by mail will experience a delay in receiving their registration stickers and cab card. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) was informed by 3M that supply chain issues and a plant explosion and fire at a 3M​ supplier’s plant​ are contributing to a delay in sticker stock being delivered to Minnesota.”

So far, the supply chain snafu affects vehicle owners who attempt to renew their tabs by mail or online for January 2022. Those who walk into a deputy registrar’s office or license center will receive the correct tabs on the spot. DVS insists drivers who renew their registration online or by mail should not be charged for expired tags if pulled over by authorities.

“A customer’s online record is immediately up-to-date once they complete an online renewal or once their mailed application is processed. DPS-DVS is reaching out to law enforcement ensuring they are aware of the supply chain issues. Law enforcement will see a valid registration in the system when they check someone’s license plate.
Minnesotans who renew online should keep a copy of the receipt they receive when they complete the online transaction. Customers should keep that receipt in their vehicle. If questioned by law enforcement drivers can show their online receipt or let the officer know they renewed online or by mail and have not received their registration stickers. The officer’s computer will show the registration is valid.”

Apparently 3M has rattled the supply chain in response to the embarrassing predicament, according to the Pioneer Press.

“In a statement Friday, the Maplewood-based company said: ‘3M is working collaboratively with the State of Minnesota to deliver the products they need to provide license tags. We are back up and delivering products. We have provided more than 12,000 tabs this afternoon and expect another 25,000 to 30,000 tomorrow. We will be shipping more next week and throughout January to meet Minnesota’s demand.'”

But it’s hard to blame drivers in limbo for wondering why they should have confidence in the agency’s current advice to them.

“’We want to encourage customers to be patient and wait for the stickers,’ said Pong Xiong, director of the Department of Public Safety’s Driver and Vehicle Services Division, often known as the ‘DMV.’ ‘The plan is on track right now.'”


Tom Steward

Tom Steward is Center of the American Experiment’s Government Accountability Reporter.