Probe prompts more than 1,600 driver license suspensions
BOSTON (AP) — More than 1,600 Massachusetts drivers have had their licenses suspended following a Registry of Motor Vehicles review prompted by a deadly crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire.
The unprocessed out-of-state violations were discovered in bins at registry headquarters and during a search of the agency’s archives dating back to 2011.
A Friday memo from Marie Breen, general counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Jamey Tesler, acting Registrar of Motor Vehicles also said there’s “no evidence that the RMV has (at least not for many years) had a consistent practice of sending out mail or electronic notification of violations or suspension actions taken in Massachusetts to other states in ‘real time.’”
The memo said there were some exceptions “including a period of time during which Massachusetts and New Hampshire exchanged electronic files in an attempt to ensure that both states’ records were up to date.”
The registry is trying to improve the way it handles incoming out-of-state notifications received by mail to make sure they are scanned and reviewed and that any notifications triggering suspension are acted upon quickly.
“Since July 1, we have reviewed over 1,477 pieces of incoming mail containing out-of-state notifications and issued 98 suspensions of out-of-state drivers,” the memo said.
The report also said the registry will now rely on mailing notifications to other states.
“Although we can find no evidence that the RMV has ever had a consistent practice of mailing notifications to other states when their residents are subject to suspension actions in Massachusetts, we have decided that in the interest of safety the appropriate practice is to mail out notifications to other states when out-of-state, non-CDL drivers are suspended in Massachusetts.,” the memo said, referring to commercial driver licenses.
Connecticut officials twice alerted Massachusetts about a drunken driving arrest against the driver charged in the June 21 crash, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy , of West Springfield, but Massachusetts failed to act to suspend his license.
Zhukovskyy pleaded not guilty.
Officials also said that Grant Thornton, an outside audit firm, has begun what they’re calling as “end-to-end forensic review of RMV processes with respect to out-of-state notifications.”
Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo called the report troubling.
“As I said last week, the scope and depth of the troubles at the RMV warranted oversight from the legislature, and these latest revelations further reinforce that notion,” DeLeo said Friday in a written statement.
DeLeo said he expects continued cooperation from the Baker Administration.
Massachusetts lawmakers are planning to hold an oversight hearing this month to conduct a public examination of what it called “the management, notice and record-keeping issues” at the registry.