Q&A with Chrissy Nizer
Incoming AAMVA board chair and administrator at the Maryland department of transportation Motor Vehicle Administration shares her vision for the organization
How have you worked with AAMVA over the years?
I’ve been involved in AAMVA practically the entire time I’ve been with the Motor Vehicle Administration in Maryland—over 15 years—and have found it to be a tremendous resource. It’s a great community of people who are all dedicated to the same things: providing the best customer service possible and making sure that we have safe drivers and safe vehicles on the road. It’s an honor, frankly, to help lead this organization alongside a great board of directors and wonderful staff.
Do you have any programs that you are going to be putting forward or continuing from the previous board?
I think that it is a time of reinventing and renewing ourselves as motor vehicle agencies as we recover from the pandemic. Just as the rest of the country is recovering, motor vehicle administrations throughout the country and Canada have found new and innovative ways to do things. Much more is being done electronically, which is great, but how do we continue to provide the best service we can, both in person and remotely? How do we continue to ensure safety on the roadways? We are looking for opportunities to develop best practices in this new environment.
Is there something that you have seen in Maryland that you’d like to promote with other jurisdictions?
Motor vehicle agencies throughout the country and in Canada have used appointments as a way to more efficiently manage customers and improve the customer experience, and we’ve done that in Maryland. Some jurisdictions have said they’re going to continue that, so it’ll be interesting to see how that evolves going forward. Over the years, I’ve noticed in some of our jurisdictions, the connections between the highway safety offices and the motor vehicle agencies are not always as strong as they could be, so I’m definitely going to see if there’s something I can do to help strengthen those relationships going forward.
What transportation issues are you most passionate about?
Safety and customer service are my two real passions. In my role as the [Maryland] governor’s highway safety representative, I have interacted with many individuals whose lives are changed forever because they lost a loved one as a result of a motor vehicle crash. It’s something that stays with you. Those interactions motivate me every day to help reach that goal of zero fatalities because that loved one who is lost, that hole in that family, is something that lasts forever. One small thing we can all do is stop calling them motor vehicle accidents and start calling them motor vehicle crashes to make clear these tragedies are preventable.
I’m also passionate about customer service. That’s what we’re here to do: serve the customer. We all take the responsibility of serving every resident in our jurisdictions very seriously, but I think expectations have changed. People are doing more things remotely, so they expect that online experience, whether it’s with the state or a private entity, to be similar. At the same time, we must make sure that we’re meeting the needs of other folks who don’t have internet access, or who aren’t as comfortable using it, to the same extent.