Most businesses that operate on the web know that if you don’t make a good first impression with potential customers within the first 10 to 20 seconds of their visit to your site, then you probably won’t keep their business.
But what happens when so many customers come to your website that it crashes?
This was what happened just recently when Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website began allowing non-United States citizens to obtain driver’s licenses.
The shut-down occurred on July 2, when the site’s “Schedule an Appointment at a Driver’s License Office” page was flooded with an average of 70,000 hits per hour; at one point, the site hit 107,500 hits in just one hour. The website usually only sees approximately 8,000 visitors per hour on an average day.
Yet the number of appointments scheduled? Only 823.
Colorado’s state government website explains that that DMV is also receiving a higher call volume, as well.
The influx of traffic was the result of the passing of SB 13-251, the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act. The bill, which passed in the state senate, grants state driver’s licenses to individuals who cannot demonstrate lawful presence in the U.S. or can only prove temporary lawful presence.
The law goes into affect on August 1, when the state will begin issuing these licenses to applicants at that time.
The DMV will also conduct workshops throughout July, August and September for interested applicants to walk them through the process.
The program is being offered by appointment only in five offices in five major Colorado cities: Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.
The program’s implementation has been criticized for being not available enough, though.
Gabriela Flora, a regional organizer for the American Friends Service Committee, asked the state to provide more locations where the licenses can be obtained. If the state doesn’t, she said, “people have to wait months or years to get a license.”
Homero Ocon, who is seeking an appointment through the website, explained that with just five available locations, it could be years before he is able to obtain a driver’s license.
Other critics worry that the program will promote illegal immigration, but state officials note that licenses issued for this program contain a banner stating that they are not to be used for federal identification, voting or public benefits.