The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is trying to save drivers a trip to BMV branch offices.
The BMV said Tuesday it has started offering online driver's license renewals at the agency's Web site. Officials also announced the BMV will allow people to renew vehicle registrations by phone, and they can go to certain AAA Hoosier Motor Club offices to renew driver's licenses and identification cards.
The changes are the agency's latest efforts to give customers more choices, BMV Commissioner Andy Miller said.
"The concept was pretty simple," he said. "We wanted to meet them where they were versus forcing them to come to where we are."
A state law passed last year allows the BMV to offer license renewals online. Drivers are only able to renew online if they have had no name or address changes and meet other qualifications. Licenses must be renewed every six years, but people cannot renew online twice in a row. That means a trip to the license branch at least once every 12 years.
Driver's licenses renewed online will not be considered "SecureID" licenses, which are offered by the Indiana BMV to residents who provide more documents proving their identification. But Miller said regular licenses renewed online will function the same as a SecureID because the federal push to enforce more strict identification rules has stalled.
Eventually, residents may need SecureIDs to show when boarding planes or for other purposes.
License renewals had been the most requested online service not previously available through the BMV's Web site, which already offered vehicle registration renewal.
But Miller noted that not everyone likes to use online options. He said some people, especially senior citizens, wanted to talk to a real person when renewing their vehicle registrations, so the BMV added the renew by phone option.
No new employees will be hired to handle the volume of calls for registration renewals. The BMV freed up time for customer service representatives by using voice recordings to handle routine calls seeking BMV hours and other basic information, Miller said.
More than 46 percent of all registration renewals were done outside a license branch last year, the BMV said. Miller said the goal is to have 65 percent of registration renewals done outside license branches this year — saving the state money and making lines shorter at license branches.