Originally Published: June 13, 2015 11:50 p.m.
The third party's battle to issue driver's licenses
The path to change was a long one for Ken Foote, owner of FooteWork Auto License and Title Service, a local Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) Authorized Third Party provider since 1998.
In the past, MVD Authorized Third Parties have been able to do everything involving titling and registration. The one section that they could not do was driver's licensing.
"It was almost a disservice to our customers," said Foote.
Certain customers, such as those from out of state, would come into Foote's business looking to change over all of their motor vehicle information, but Foote would have to explain to them that they could only get their driver's license switched over by the state.
Therefore, in 2003, Foote went to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) looking to get this changed to expand the industry's services. Soon after, he received a standard rejection letter saying they'd take it into consideration.
Foote continued to approach ADOT with the proposition, but he wasn't getting through, so in 2010, he joined several other MVD Authorized Third Parties to increase the effort.
They called themselves the Motor Vehicle Providers Association of Arizona (MVPAA) and Foote served as the first chairman of the coalition for two two-year terms.
The group formulated a list of objectives they wished to accomplish. The number one goal was to offer a driver's license service.
In February 2011, they created Senate Bill 1589, but it didn't really have the effect that they wanted, according to Foote. They needed MVD to approve of the bill for it to go into effect, but there wasn't enough incentive in it for the MVD for them to willingly cooperate.
With the help of Representative Karen Fann, who was co-chair of the transportation committee for the state House of Representatives at the time, they worked up a new bill for the House in February 2013, and this time around, MVD bought in.
The deciding factor for the MVD was that the bill included further control and oversight on driver's education schools.
When the bill was ratified, the state began a pilot program in 2014, allowing four MVD Authorized Third Party providers in the Phoenix area to offer the driver's license service.
This was to ensure third parties could properly issue what is considered such a tremendous responsibility and privilege in our society without handing it over to somebody that isn't qualified for it.
Because third parties are private entities, they have even more regulation and strict guidelines on how to issue driver's licenses than even the MVD field offices do, according to Foote.
"We have additional bonding we have to hold for each of our companies, on top of the existing bonding we already have; there is a quality assurance procedure that is put in place that monitors all of our work; and then we have routine audits from the state," Foote said.
On June 1, 2015, the pilot phase was over and Foote finally got to celebrate the win he worked 12 years to achieve with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception.
His office, along with every other qualifying MVD Authorized Third Party provider in Arizona can now officially be a one-stop-shop alternative to the MVD for all motor vehicle needs.
Foote's efforts may have benefitted his industry as a whole, but one thing he does have that he believes no one else does at this point is a mirror attached to the camera that snaps the photo for driver's licenses. This allows people to make sure their hair is in order and they don't have any food on their face before the one and only photo is taken.
"I'm working on a patent for it," Foote said.
Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-642-7864.
By Max Efrein
1) The sign outside the Prescott FootWorke office, located at 201 Grove Ave, now says Driver's Licenses.
2) Driver's license specialist at FooteWork Auto License and Title Service Tammy Imperia, right, assists customer Alan Pendley endorse his motorcycle.