Closing the Gaps
Process and procedure are essential to the health and welfare of the public
AAMVA members directly influence the safety and mobility of the communities they serve. Getting and keeping a driver’s license, ensuring vehicle safety, holding vehicle dealers accountable, collecting taxes and fees that support highway construction, and enforcing traffic laws all are directly managed by motor vehicle and traffic safety enforcement agencies across the U.S. and Canada.
The importance of these services is evident right now, during the unprecedented agency shutdowns that have occurred during the global public health emergency of 2020. Each agency’s shutdown was preceded by a review of its emergency preparedness (COOP) process, developed to be used when events take an unexpected turn. In most cases, the agencies issued waivers and extensions to enable residents their mobility while protecting the public from the spread of COVID-19.
Shifting back to our highway safety mission and norms for just a moment, (although it’s hard to take our eyes off of the unfolding public health emergency) we are reminded that the motor vehicle and traffic safety roles in the AAMVA Community are derived from a significant body of law—state, provincial, territorial and federal. They’re only as effective as the uniformity of enforcement and reliability of the data behind the records.
Once a law is adopted, the challenges of implementing and gaining compliance are overcome through interpretation, process, training, procedure and practice. Implementation and compliance also depend upon keeping the requirements current, which usually requires more process, training and practice.
Beyond agency process exists a much bigger world of procedure: the step-by-step instruction on how to carry out a process one has committed to completing. Procedural breakdowns lead to implementation gaps, and gaps create the risk that something or someone will fall through them. That’s where bad actors and high-risk drivers slip through loopholes.
Process requires diligence. Keeping processes current is not simple, nor is it glamorous, but it is essential.
In this time of anxiety, uncertainty and, for some, illness, I wish all who are well continued support for the services you’re delivering to others. And for those whose normal work has been curtailed, may you find joy in updating process and procedure. Both are essential to the continuity of operations depended upon for the health and welfare of the public.
AAMVA President and CEO