DMV has plan to save money but little to spend on selling it

The state Department of Motor Vehicles figures it can save $200,000 or more a year if it just can get consumers to make a modest change in their behavior.

But here's the problem: The DMV doesn't have any money to launch advertising and marketing programs to educate consumers and persuade them to make change.

About 26 percent of eligible Nevada residents renew their vehicle registrations on-line and about 22 percent renew their drivers licenses on-line.

Some pay with a debit card, which costs the state less than $1 per transaction. Others pay with credit cards, which cost about $4 per transaction.

Obviously, the DMV wants to convince consumers to use debit cards rather than credit cards.

The answer, a DMV spokesman says, is free media the distribution of press releases floated in hopes that reporters will spread the story themselves free of charge.

"We don't have the flexibility that a private organization would have," says DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs. "We can't spend money on advertising."

The department's media campaign a single-sheet press release last week generated calls from broadcast and print outlets, both English- and Spanish-language, throughout the state.

In part, Jacobs acknowledged, that level of interest reflects the fact that almost everyone hates the DMV. A news release from the agency is likely to cut through the clutter on the desk of a busy news director.

Along with the bid for new coverage, DMV works in subtle ways to change consumers' behavior. When motorists use the department's Web site, for instance, the least-expensive payment option usually an E-check is the first option they see.

The DMV began offering the option of using a debit card on August 28. So far, says DMV Director Ginny Lewis, about 200 motorists a day use debit cards.

That saves $600 day $200,000 a year over credit-card fees.

The potential savings could be even greater if DMV can install debit-card equipment in its field offices. Lewis said the agency will ask lawmakers to approve funding for that equipment, making the pitch that it potentially could save at least $500,000 annually.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment