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How Did The Federal Shutdown Affect State DMVs?

The Government shut-down became effective on October 1st  and the consequences of it were felt by just about anyone, such as federal workers, who weren’t able to receive their pay-checks in time, veterans and people with disabilities didn’t receive their benefits, as well as small business owners, who didn’t have access to financing provided by the Government. Various national museums and national parks were closed, and passport and gun permit applications were delayed. State DMVs were also affected by the shut-down, which closed for a certain period of time, or operated with delays, at the very least.

Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles is a state-level government agency, and they are mainly funded by taxes, such as road, gas, and income taxes, and fees, including license plate, registration, and title transfer fees. Due to the fact that DMVs are operated at a state level, instead of a federal level, the Government shutdown shouldn’t affect their funding and operating hours, but there will be some exceptions. For example, the District of Columbia DMV is run by the city, and it closed on October 1st, which coincidently, was a Tuesday, the busiest day of the week for the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

This means that all services this DMV provides weren’t available, so you couldn’t be able to apply for a driver’s license, or renew your current one, register your vehicle, request a driving record, or apply for a title transfer. When the shutdown finally ended, the DMV were in a bit of a chaos situation, since all the people who couldn’t get their service during the shutdown, overwhelmed local offices when they opened. This resulted in incredibly long lines at all DMVs and people had to wait for hours to receive their license plates or get their driver’s licenses renewed.

However, the federal shutdown also had a few effects that people were probably happy about. For one thing, law enforcement were impacted, and drivers didn’t get as much tickets as they used to. Parking enforcement officers were not going to work, so no matter if you were double-parked, or parked in a restricted place, you couldn’t be cited for it. But, this had a negative effect in the long run, as the city gets a large portion of its funding through fines and fees, so it had less resources for further investments in the infrastructure and it might not be able to meet certain budget obligations.

Unlike the District of Columbia DMV, other DMVs across the country were open, and people were able to go to their local DMV office and do whatever it is you need to do there. They operated as usual, which was certainly a huge relief for every car owner. Fortunately, the shutdown lasted until 17th October, so both the public and the government sector were not hugely affected, and consequently, the general public, as well.