DMV glitch wrongly threatened hundreds in RI with license, registration suspensions

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s Division of Motor Vehicles sent hundreds of letters in error threatening license and registration suspensions.

Paul Grimaldi, a spokesperson for the DMV, said 739 “Letters of Action” were sent to vehicle owners alerting them that their vehicles did not have passing inspection records. The letters included a future license and registration suspension date if drivers did not provide proof that their vehicles had passed inspection.

“Those 739 records have since been updated to correctly reflect that the vehicles have up-to-date inspections,” Grimaldi said. “The DMV is sending new letters to those 739 vehicle owners notifying them that the records are cleared up.”

The DMV launched its long-delayed computer system last month, and Grimaldi said the timing of the launch led to the erroneous suspension notices.

Grimaldi said a DMV vendor transmitted one file with a list of suspension notices into the old computer system just prior to the launch of the new one, known as RIMS. An updated list of cleared suspensions was sent post-launch to the new system.

“That created a lag that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred in the old system and won’t in the new system now that RIMS is the sole operating system,” Grimaldi explained.

There are more than 900,000 vehicles registered in Rhode Island, according to the DMV.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.