2001-08-11 / Letters

DMV Computer’s Down

DMV Computer’s Down

Dear Editor:

Your readers may have seen or heard stories of drivers having their cars impounded and/or their registrations suspended because law enforcement officers identify their vehicles as uninsured.

These occasional errors illustrate downside of an innovative new computer program called the Insurance and Enforcement System, at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV’s program prevents uninsured cars by matching data from insurance company records directly with its registration.

If no insurance data "match" is found, registrants are identified as potentially uninsured and notified by the DMV. Police also have access to this information while they are patrolling the roads. Unfortunately, the system is experiencing some start-up pains.

As with any new system of this magnitude, there are bugs that need to be worked out. The DMV program depends on its registration records matching comparable items insurance companies send to the DMV. So if the names on the record differ, or if the address or name changes and avoid lapses in your insurance.

Even if you know you have insurance, don’t disregard any notice you receive from the DMV stating otherwise. Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as you receive the DMV’s initial inquiry letter to prevent a suspension.

If you do receive a suspension order, the DMV can issue a 45-day stay of suspension, grace period, to let you get the problem solved. You’ll need to get a letter from your insurance company, proving you have insurance, and then take it directly to the DMV. They will issue you a MV-134 report, which will give you clearance to drive, as you wait for the electronic records to be straightened out. Driving while under suspension can lead to your car being impounded if a law enforcement officer stops you.

STEVEN RUCHMAN


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