CARSON CITY - Lines at DMV offices around the state are lighter compared with last week's crowds, and officials are worried Nevadans wrongly interpreted Gov. Kenny Guinn's ''grace period.''
''We started noticing it last Friday,'' said Ginny Lewis, who heads the Genesis computer program that has caused delay and frustration for customers since it went on line Sept. 7. ''We're afraid customers are thinking they don't even have to come in because of this grace period.''
Guinn last week announced he was asking law enforcement across the state to give drivers a break if their registration has just expired because the renewal is probably stuck somewhere inside the balky new computer program.
Guinn included that announcement along with a list of other changes including more than 40 temporary workers to process the backlog of mail-in registration and license renewals.
''There's a misperception out there that people have a free ride for 30 days,'' said DMV spokeswoman Kim Evans. ''That's not what the governor said.''
Lewis said DMV officials are hoping part of the drop-off in business Monday was due to the Columbus Day holiday. That's not a state holiday, however, and state offices remained open.
But Lewis is pretty sure the sudden lack of business stems largely from people thinking the governor gave them another month to get renewals.
''Our people started calling last Friday saying something's not right,'' she said.
''The grace period is for customers who have mailed in their registration renewals and currently have not received their renewal stickers,'' said Lewis.
The grace period also applies to those who provided their paperwork to someone at a DMV office or put it in a DMV drop box but haven't received their renewal in the mail yet.
But it doesn't apply to those who haven't even made an attempt to renew on time, Lewis said.
At the same time, she admitted there's really no way for a police officer on the street to tell whether someone has mailed in the paperwork or not, and drivers will probably get the benefit of the doubt.