The RMV Told Thousands of Drivers Their Licenses Were in Trouble. They Weren’t.


Cars in gridlock

Photo via iStock/Grafissimo

Well this is not good.

MassDOT is apologizing to drivers this week after the Registry of Motor Vehicles told nearly 10,000 of them that they had defaulted on payments and that their licenses would soon be suspended. Except, the licenses hadn’t expired. The RMV’s new software goofed. And so yet again, a switchover to a new license-processing system called ATLAS has come under scrutiny.

The erroneous letters, according to WCVB, which obtained a copy of one, said drivers’ licenses would be suspended in a matter of weeks unless they paid fines. They were sent to 9,737 people, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which says it realized its mistake the same day and quickly sent messages clearing everything up.

“The RMV recently identified a technical glitch in the new software system that resulted in letters being sent in error to customers, and the RMV immediately corrected this issue on the same business day to notify impacted customers that no licenses had been suspended,” according to a statement from spokeswoman Jacqueline Goddard.

The registry blasted out an automated message to clear things up. “If you received a letter about a pending suspension, please note that this may have been an error!” it says, according to the Boston Globe. “We apologize for any inconvenience and have mailed you an updated letter telling you to disregard erroneous pending suspension notice. If you are part of this group, you do not need to wait to speak to a contact center representative or visit a service center. And your license status has NOT changed.”

This follows the headaches that came in March, when the registry switched over to the ATLAS software to process applications for the new Real IDs, which require applicants to provide proof they have legal immigration status. The adjustment led to major delays at RMV locations statewide. If you think a panic-inducing notice about a soon-to-be-suspended license is a pain in the neck, imagine having to wait five hours in line at the RMV as some people reportedly did.