WETHERSFIELD – The DMV says it’s working to correct errors in its system that wrongfully suspended drivers’ registrations for lack of insurance.
Jim Byrne of South Windsor is one of those drivers. He changed insurance providers a few months ago, and received a notice from the DMV this fall that his registration would be suspended if he didn’t provide proof of insurance.
“I moved to Connecticut in ‘66 and I have been insured ever since. I never lapsed. I never had a problem,” said Byrne.
Byrne said he contacted his insurance provider, the DMV and even his local representative, but the problem persists. As of Monday, his registration was suspended and he’s been carrying around a folder of documents proving he does have insurance in case he gets pulled over.
“I’m illegal right now,” he said. “It’s happening to a lot of people, and we’ve done nothing wrong.”
DMV spokesman Bill Seymour confirms some drivers did receive these insurance notices in error. He said that is due to a backlog of insurance paperwork at the department and a coding issue with their new software.
Seymour said they fixed the coding error on December 23, which they anticipate will keep this from happening to anyone else. Meanwhile, extra staffers are working overtime to combat the backlog, hoping to get through it in the coming days.
The department doesn’t know for sure how many people these problems have affected. But House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides says her office has received numerous calls. Some drivers have had their cars towed or impounded due to this error.
Rep. Klarides is calling for a hearing with the Department of Transportation as soon as the legislative session begins. She said House and Senate Republicans called for a hearing last session, but it never happened.
“This isn't about finger pointing or name calling. The commissioner has been very engaged in trying to fix the problem, but it just seems like it has kind of snowballed at this point. We're calling for the hearing yesterday. To be honest, I don’t think we should wait until session starts in February,” said Rep. Klarides.
The DMV says anyone who has experienced a wrongful suspension should call them with proof that he or she never had a lapse in insurance. There is more information on the DMV website about how drivers can also go the DMV to cover any fines or towing fees incurred as a result of these problems.