DMV Satisfaction Survey – The Best and Worst DMVs in America

Sun, 4/22/2018 - 6:24 pm by Kirsten Rincon

While the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may not be known for excellent customer service, some states perform better than others. To help compare, has completed its National DMV Satisfaction Survey to analyze the quality of customer service at the DMV. The data, which compares customer satisfaction levels across the U.S.A., was collected over a 10-month time period. The best and worst performing states are outlined in the map below:

Best and Worst DMVs in America

States with the highest levels of customer satisfaction are colored yellow, while red coloring identifies states with the lowest satisfaction. The DMV Satisfaction Survey did not collect sufficient data to accurately report on some states, these states are identified with grey coloring.

Top 3 States in DMV Customer Satisfaction

1) Ohio

Best Ranking Category: Online DMV Service (1st)Worst Ranking Category: In-Person Customer Service (24th)

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has the highest reported customer satisfaction in the country. The Ohio BMV has the 4th shortest wait time in the United States. They also offer an extensive list of services that are available online.

2) Illinois

Best Ranking Category: Telephone Customer Service (1st)Worst Ranking Category: Online DMV Service (34th)

Despite some criticism regarding the introduction of the “Real ID” program, customers rated the Illinois DMV high enough to rank second overall. The Illinois DMV ranked first for telephone customer service and third for DMV wait times.

3) Indiana

Best Ranking Category: In-Person Customer Service (4th)Worst Ranking Category: Wait Times (22nd)

Indiana introduced kiosks in 2011, which allow drivers to conduct transactions autonomously, without relying on BMV staff for assistance. The state reports that 55% of all transactions take place outside of the traditional Bureau of Motor Vehicles setting. Results from a previous study reveal that actual wait times in Illinois are the 5th shortest in the country. Despite this, customers in Illinois are not satisfied with waits at the BMV.

The 3 States with the Worst Customer Satisfaction at the DMV

35) Connecticut

Best Ranking Category: Online DMV Service (15th)Worst Ranking Category: In-Person Customer Service (35th)

Low levels of customer satisfaction in Connecticut may be attributed to the DMV’s budget constraints. In 2011, the department was forced to eliminate 151 staff positions due to budget cuts. As a result of this, wait times at the Connecticut DMV are the 3rd longest in the United States.

36) South Carolina

Best Ranking Category: Online DMV Service (19th)Worst Ranking Category: DMV Accessibility (37th)

Although South Carolina has low levels of customer satisfaction, the state DMV has enacted measures to improve in recent years. In 2012, the DMV introduced a new computer system, which allows staff to predict and manage demand. The new system was obtained in exchange for advertising space, and did not cost taxpayers any money.

37) Oregon

Best Ranking Category: Online DMV Service (28th)Worst Ranking Category: In-Person Customer Service, Telephone Customer Service, Price of Services, Wait Times (37th)

Government Officials in Oregon understand the severe situation at the DMV. To improve, the department has recently passed a bill, which proposes to hire more DMV staff, and extend hours of operation.


DMV State Rankings *Insufficient data for Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming

DMV Office Accessibility has the Largest Impact on Customer Satisfaction

DMV accessibility is the greatest indicator of customer satisfaction. States with the greatest levels of overall customer satisfaction rank very high in accessibility. The location, hours of operation, and convenience offered at the DMV have the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction.

Availability of Online DMV Services has Little Impact on Customer Satisfaction

While online services allow drivers to conduct transactions without visiting the DMV, customers indicate that the availability of online services has very little impact on their overall satisfaction with the DMV. 

Customer Satisfaction with Wait Times is Important, Actual Wait Times Are Not

Satisfaction with wait times at the state DMV has a large impact on overall customer satisfaction. States that have high levels of satisfaction with DMV wait times rank very highly in overall satisfaction. Interestingly though, actual wait times at the DMV have very little impact on reported wait time satisfaction. There is almost no relationship between the time people actually wait, and the level of satisfaction with that wait time. In other words, states with longer wait times do not necessarily report low satisfaction with wait times at the DMV.


In the National DMV Satisfaction Survey, DMV customers were surveyed about the DMV’s:

  • Online Services
  • In-Person Services
  • Telephone Services
  • Wait Times
  • Accessibility
  • Price of Services
  • Overall Performance

Customers were asked to rate their satisfaction with each of these categories. Each category was assigned a weight, which was used to calculate an overall score and rank each state. Overall performance was given the greatest weight, while all other categories were weighted equally. The survey excluded states for which insufficient data was collected.