BMV admits glitch in notifying driver of suspension

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The state admits to a computer glitch that could be impacting your driver’s license. One local woman found that out the hard way.

There are more than 20 different ways you can get your license suspended in Ohio but the Bureau of Motor Vehicles notifies everyone in the same way, a simple letter sent to their home address.

But for Mary Douglas, that letter never came and I found out, she may not be alone.

Mary Douglas has a problem with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

“They failed to do their job,” said Douglas.

It all started with an accident she was in last November. She didn’t have insurance so her license was suspended.

Mary said she did everything possible to get it back. She obtained car insurance and paid all the fines. In March she received the letter she had been waiting for.

“The last communication I got from the BMV which you are holding in your hand, it says I’m valid. Period. I’m valid.”

The letter said she has a valid license. But it wasn’t until another accident that she found out that wasn’t true.

“We are exchanging information, filling out our police report, he runs our drivers license. He comes up to me and lets me know I’m driving under suspension and I said no,” said Douglas.

Sure enough, the BMV had her listed as suspended. When she called about it, she was told they forgot to send her the notification letter telling her about the second part to the suspension. That involved paying car damages

“I would have never been driving. I would not have been driving. Period.”

She was cited and had to appear in court for driving under suspension. All for doing something illegal she never knew about. The BMV sent a letter to her which admits the mistake.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” it stated.

2 NEWS Investigates contacted the BMV about it. They refused to answer questions on camera so we sent them a list via email.

In a response, the Administrator, Tim Fisher blames a glitch in their computer system.

He notified the court about Mary’s situation. I checked and found that court has dropped her suspension charge as of Tuesday.

But it doesn’t end with Mary’s situation. The BMV tells me it’s unclear at this point how many were affected. So there could be more people in Ohio who don’t know they are driving on a suspended license.

Fisher said they’re still identifying the problem and trying to find a solution. So according to his statement they don’t even have the glitch fixed yet.

But Mary said this wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t rely on a system that sends out regular letters to notify drivers.

“I think it should come certified. Don’t just take it and stick it in a mail box and hope you are not on vacation,” said Douglas.

The BMV sends the notification letters to the drivers last known address.

They say it works well and it’s the most cost effective way of letting people know.

We checked to see how nearby states notify drivers.

West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Michigan all send letters. However some of them also use certified letters for specific suspensions.

Ohio’s BMV said it’s up to the driver to make sure they have their most up-to-date address. But if somebody didn’t get their letter like Mary, they will work with the court and customer in getting the facts straight.

Mary still thinks the way they do business needs to change.

“I don’t think my license should be suspended. It was your job to notify me of this potential situation. You did not.”

If you’re curious about the status of your driver’s license, call 614-752-7500 or check online.

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