Tennessee drivers license offices briefly unable to process transactions

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Due to a state network issue, all driver license offices were unable to process any transactions for a time Thursday morning.

The Knox County Clerk’s office said they were working with the state to fix the issue and apologized for the inconvenience. The issue lasted around 20 minutes.

After grabbing a number, Thomas Stafford waited to renew his license.

“Any time you come to a DMV or anything you expect a wait,” he said. vlcsnap-2015-03-19-17h22m42s105

Earlier Thursday, the wait was longer by 20 minutes in all 95 counties across Tennessee. According to the state, a network glitch happened to the national driver license database that examiners use to review driver history. Because of that, staff was powerless at processing licenses.

Related story: New state driver license system designed to increase efficiency

“So we called though, before we came, and they said that they could do it today,” said driver Robert Smith.

Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett told WATE 6 On Your Side glitches like the one Thursday happen more than once a week and can last from a few minutes to more than an hour.

“We hope people will understand that when the state of Tennessee goes down, we go down. When they come back up, we come back up,” added Arnett.

Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett
Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett

Both the state and county blame technology.

“It’s not a real big inconvenience because most people come in and if they’re here to renew their driver’s license or to renew their registration on their car, and the system goes down, they can go home and they can do it themselves and do it online,” said Arnett.

Drivers waiting Thursday afternoon say they’re surprised to learn the state’s network isn’t perfect.

“You’ve got to expect anything right now,” said Stafford.

State officials say a technology glitch like the one that happened is simply a technology issue. The state does not believe network problems happen on a regular basis.

County clerk’s offices across the state were unable to process any motor vehicle registration last week and title transactions due to a statewide network issue.

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