DMV blog highlights what’s new with driver’s license services, a snapshot of what’s in store for 2019

DMV News: Driver's License

UPDATE: Star Card deadline is now May 7, 2025

U.S. Department of Homeland Security notice for REAL ID

Originally published 2/14/2019
A little more than a month into 2019, the Division of Motor Vehicles will be sharing updates about new initiatives and enhancements that are taking place within the Idaho Transportation Department. Much of this information is already regularly shared through DMV GO, an in-house publication shared with all DMV employees, as well as our county sheriff partners in licensing and assessor offices. Moving forward, this blog will share information about DMV services with employees and citizens.

New service enhancements are already in the works for Driver’s License services in 2019. However, we’d like to provide a recap of where we are after vendor software issues caused major service disruptions statewide for customers visiting county driver’s license offices, which are operated by sheriff’s staff.

In early Aug. 2018, the DMV successfully launched the GEM Modernization effort, replacing a 40-year old mainframe system that was outdated. Two weeks later, vendor software for capturing customer pictures and signatures failed—crippling the ability of DMV offices to service customers for one week. It is important to note the failure was with the vendor’s system, not ITD’s modernization effort.

Realizing the vendor was unable to fix the problems, the modernization team (DMV and IT staff) jumped into action and created an entirely new program to capture photos and signatures in just two days. Since then, there have been no outages or shutdowns of DMV offices. Wait times in offices today are essentially back to what they were before the shut down last summer.

Additionally, the DMV has committed several members of the ITD team to visiting county offices and delivering hands-on training regularly in the weeks and months following the August shutdown. The collaboration and communication has been critical to the improved success of our system and the customers it serves.

Concurrent with those efforts, the DMV is in the process of developing an online customer portal that will provide services that allow customers to renew their licenses online. This option would further decrease wait times in county offices. More information on its rollout will be shared in the coming months.

Finally, you’re going to start hearing and seeing a lot about the Star Card, Idaho’s Real ID, as part of a large, multi-faceted media and advertising campaign. The campaign is designed to strongly encourage citizens to renew their license to meet Star Card federal requirements. Without a Real ID, citizens won’t be able to board a plane or enter a federal facility after Oct. 1, 2020. You can learn more about it now by visiting and using the “Add the Star” tool. It provides a personalized list of documents you will need in order to renew your license with a Star.

Approximately 70,000 of 1.25 licensed Idaho drivers have secured a Star Card to date. Our goal is to see those numbers increase and avoid long lines and missed travel opportunities ahead of the Oct. 2020 deadline.

We look forward to sharing more information highlighting successes in the DMV in our next blog.