May 16, 2014

Reid Wilson is the author of Read In, The Post’s new morning tipsheet on politics.

We all know the dread that comes with an expiring driver’s license. It may be about the passage of time or our advancing age. But mostly it’s because we have to go to the DMV — purgatory in government form.

Except, that is, if you live in Ohio. More than 97 percent of customers at the Buckeye State’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles said they were satisfied with their experiences, according to a recent survey conducted for the state. That’s largely because Ohioans don’t have to go to the BMV too often. They can renew license plates, schedule driving tests and change their addresses online, all services for which residents of many other states have to show up in person.

Even when they do go to the BMV, Ohioans don’t have to spend much time there. The average Ohio resident waits just under 15 minutes to receive service at any of the agency’s 204 locations around the state. Compare that with nearly 54 minutes in California, according to another survey conducted by DMV.com, a group that monitors driving statistics and state licensing policies.

In a separate DMV.com survey, Ohio also ranked high in customer satisfaction because of its low fees for registering vehicles and renewing licenses. According to data maintained by the Federal Highway Administration, the state charges $21.50 to register a typical vehicle; the average vehicle costs more than $50 to register in Texas and a whopping $100.75 in Oklahoma.

(The Washington Post)

Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. Illinois residents rated their motor-vehicle agency the second-best in the nation. Indiana ranked third in overall customer satisfaction.

What makes for a satisfied customer? Staying open, says Jordan Perch, a blogger with DMV.com who put together the survey. “Customers in states who reported higher satisfaction with office location and hours were more likely to report higher overall satisfaction with the DMV,” Perch wrote in an e-mail.

Oregon ranked last among 36 states plus the District of Columbia. (Too few residents in smaller states such as Alaska and North Dakota responded to make a representative sample size.) D.C. ranked 14th, behind Virginia (9th) but ahead of Maryland (22nd).

But no one beats Ohio’s smooth ride.

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Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.
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