Vehicle registration

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A computer system problem is causing some Kentucky county clerks to turn people away who need their vehicle registration updates or license plate renewed.

The issue dates back to early-July when computer systems used by all Kentucky county clerks to process vehicle registration transactions began to crash unannounced.  The problem left clerks unable to process things like vehicle registrations, transfers, titles and tags. 

"Here at the clerk's office, its' affecting largely everything we do," said Erran Huber, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk's office. "It's our ability to process titles, our ability to make sure license and registrations are up to date, the work we do with our dealers as well."

The problem surrounds the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's automated vehicle information system, or AVIS. The system, which is 40 years old, is currently in the process of being updated.

"The current system we have with AVIS is a little dated," Huber said. "It was made in the 70s. It doesn't even have a regular Windows interface that you might encounter."

Since the initial issue in July, the system has gone down intermittently ever since, leaving county clerk's left in the lurch while dealing with the public.

"We make every attempt to service each customer, but if the computers go down, we don't have a way to do that," Bullitt County Clerk Kevin Mooney said. "If people are able to wait until it comes back online, then we'll service them then."

Mooney also said his office will inform people waiting in its virtual queue if the system goes down. Meanwhile, Jefferson County deputy clerks have resorted to taking paperwork and holding it for the public until systems are restored. 

"We're absolutely not turning folks away," Huber said. "When folks come in, they're able to drop off their paperwork, and we do things by hand. We go old school."

The outages have also affected the ability for citizens to renew vehicles registrations online.

The outages are unannounced and can last anywhere from a few hours to an entire day, clerks said.

On Thursday, the AVIS system crashed for about three hours, but KYTC said that issue was unrelated to the ongoing effort to upgrade the system. 

"KYTC’s license plate vendor experienced a system outage early this morning beyond KYTC’s control which impacted AVIS system operations that rely on their system for data," a spokesperson for the cabinet said in an email. "Once the vendor’s system outage was resolved, it triggered an issue with our mainframe that had to be identified and corrected."

AVIS is expected to eventually be transferred to an entirely new system called KAVIS, but a spokesperson said that would not be complete until December 2022.

"We believe this is going to continue happen," Mooney said. 

KYTC did not provide a timeline on when the current issues with the AVIS system would be fixed. 

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