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NC DMV Mistakes Lead to Thousands of Licenses Lost

By: Bridget Clerkin June 2, 2016
Many NC drivers may have had their licenses suspended due to a major error in the system.

If you’ve had to pay a speeding ticket or reschedule a traffic court appearance in North Carolina recently, you may want to make sure that your due diligence hasn’t cost you your license.

A series of errors by the NC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has led to thousands of Tar Heelers mistakenly losing their driver’s licenses and some even losing their jobs from the mix-up.

The problem stems from the state agency’s dealing with a backlog of court documents. The two institutions communicate any time a state resident receives a traffic citation or fails to appear before a judge. The DMV will be notified by the courts if the ticket remains unpaid or the court date isn’t rescheduled, which leads to the DMV revoking the license of the person in question.

But the Department of Motor Vehicles has incidentally fallen behind on its share of the responsibility, failing to update drivers’ files after receiving word that a ticket has been paid or court date rescheduled. The miscue causes the person to lose their license, through no fault of their own—and, in some cases, also assume the $100 bill to have their license restored.

And while the DMV has admitted to the initial mistake, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General is investigating whether the state agency also bungled a second chance to deal with the erroneous records.

Each time a piece of information from the court doesn’t align with what the DMV has on file, the Department of Motor Vehicles will receive an error report, which points out the incongruity. The DOT is examining whether the DMV also mishandled those documents. The state agency, for its part, has remained mum on the ongoing investigation.

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