The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette correct all errors of fact. If you see an error in this article, please call the city desk at 843-706-8139. Corrections and clarifications will appear in this space.
Web sites may link directly to search results and individual articles without permission.
Up to one paragraph of text may be included from an article as long as full attribution is given and the attribution links back to the full article.
To republish more than one paragraph of text, please contact us for permission.
A favorite target for complaints about government inefficiency has long been the Department of Motor Vehicles, here and across the country.
But South Carolina's agency has made great strides over the past decade to change that image by delivering better service.
We're happy to report that they're not resting on their laurels. The department announced this week a pilot program to allow people to make appointments to take road tests for a standard driver's license or a motorcycle license. Starting June 4, the DMV office in Beaufort and 11 other offices in the state will require an appointment for a road test.
The aim is to shorten lines for everyone by evening out the flow of people coming to take the driving test. It should work. We're just sorry it won't be available at the busy Bluffton DMV office.
The 12 offices selected for the program have software that records how many people are in the office and estimated waiting time for the next road test. If this works as expected, the software should be made available at all offices as quickly as possible.
This is just one of many efforts to improve service. One of the best things the department did to improve efficiency was stationing someone at the door to make sure people arriving had the right paperwork. Many of us have experienced waiting what seemed eons only to be told at the counter we didn't have what we needed.
Another recent change calls for part-time employees to be assigned easy, but time-consuming jobs, such as taking photos for licenses, freeing up the fully trained workers to deal with customers. A simple, straightforward idea that should reap results.
The variety and number of tasks undertaken by a DMV employee is daunting. Most full-time clerks have to know how to execute about 400 different transactions, said agency spokesman Beth Parks.
The agency's website (scdmvonline.com) is easy to use and allows you to complete a number of transactions without darkening the agency's doors. Last year, it added a feature that allows you to update emergency contacts through your driver's license number or state-issued ID card, giving law enforcement access to that important information.
We applaud DMV for continuing to work to improve its service.