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Virginia computer problems continue to affect DMV

Derek Kravitz reports on the Dr. Gridlock blog that all of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles offices are still unable to issue new or replacement driver's licenses, a day after a computer outage caused the state's largest digital malfunction since 2007.

The computer troubles were caused by hardware issues at the state's data center late Wednesday, when 228 servers went offline. Workers tried to repair the malfunctioning servers overnight, bringing 60 percent of those attached to the state's storage system back online.

But the state's 74 DMV locations are still facing problems, with customers unable to obtain new, replacement or duplicate driver's licenses, said Melanie Stokes, a Virginia DMV spokeswoman.

"Managers are standing outside, telling folks that they're sorry but we can't process driver's license requests," said Stokes, who estimated that about 40 percent of DMV's customers, about 6,500 people daily, seek licenses in person.

August is traditionally a busy month for DMV locations, especially Fridays, leaving many service centers swamped with frustrated drivers, officials said.

Statewide government computer problems that affected 24 Virginia agencies on Thursday continued Friday, with the Department of Motor Vehicles being unable to process driver's licenses at its customer centers.

Twenty-four of the state's nearly 90 agencies were impacted. Other affected agencies include the departments of transportation, taxation, social services, emergency management, alcoholic beverage control and the Virginia Employment Commission.

Virginia's computer troubles is the latest episode involving Northrop Grumman's $2 billion computer contract, the largest of any kind in the commonwealth's history.

State officials said repairs and maintenance were performed overnight, and the storage system was repaired. But as of 10 a.m. Friday only 60 percent of the servers were operational and undergoing tests.

The state is unable to process licenses at its 74 customer centers. State officials said some people will be able to renew online at, or by calling the automated service at 1-888-337-4782.

Officials did not have an estimate on when normal services would resume.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 27, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz  
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