A problem with the software upgrade at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and a backlog of cases has led to several drivers being pulled over for having a suspended vehicle registration, when in fact there was no reason their vehicles should be suspended, and the department is taking some immediate actions because of the issue.
DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr. held a news conference on Thursday, apologized for the inconvenience drivers have faced and said, effective immediately, the DMV will not provide law enforcement a list of suspended registrations until the DMV is able to get through a backlog of cases.
"DMV has caused a major hardship and inconvenience for people whose registrations have been suspended when they actually had continuous vehicle insurance," Ayala said. "The state of Connecticut does not want citizens fearing to drive their cars because they have been told erroneously by DMV they have no insurance and their registrations have been suspended."
Effective immediately, the DMV hold off on providing local law enforcement a list of vehicles suspended for insurance purposes until a backlog of cases is cleared up, Ayala said.
"We do not want people ticketed or towed for this matter until it is cleared up," he said.
The DMV has also redeployed staff to the insurance compliance unit, where they will work through the weekend to clean up the backlog.
Any customer who has had continuous insurance coverage on their vehicle and was incorrectly fined might be entitled to a refund if the fine was incurred from Aug. 18, 2015 to Jan. 9, 2016 and the fee or fine was the result of DMV error.
Customers will also be able to get refunds for the $200 insurance compliance fine, tickets for infractions and fees related to towing.
The DMV will also issue letters for customers to use in any court proceeding or payment of fine to show that the registration suspension was a mistake.
Anyone who receives a letter from DMV on insurance compliance questions will need to respond and prove they have insurance, Ayala said.
The news conference comes after and NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation revealed a problem with the new software computer code that was fixed weeks ago.
In the event that a driver changes insurance, the old carrier notifies the DMV that the driver no longer has a policy with that company. In turn, the new carrier notified the DMV.
Ayala said drivers have 45 days to provide proof of continuous insurance or the registration is suspended. The DMV sent out a month's worth of letters right before closing in August for the computer upgrades.
When the DMV reopened, they continued to send the letters on schedule, creating a backlog.
The new computer system also "triggered" more letters to go out, according to Ayala.
On Dec. 23, there was a computer code change to reduce the number of letters going out.
"I'd like to apologize on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles to those who have faced this issue of insurance compliance," Ayala said.
In December, Ayala said the DMV was sending out more than 10,000 letters a month to drivers from the agency's "Insurance Compliance Unit" and there was a backlog trying to get through the letters to determine which cases are insurance compliant and which cases are not.Officials from the DMV said people's fines will be refunded if it was the DMV's fault and drivers can prove they never had a lapse in their insurance.
How to Get a Refund:
Download and complete the DMV fee refund form.
In the section “Reason for Refund,” check “Other”. State “Insurance Fine Refund” on the form.
Include your daytime phone number on the form.
If you received an infraction ticket and/or towing-related fees, provide copies of all receipts for towing or tickets fees paid.
Send the completed refund form and all other related paperwork by e-mail to email@example.com
Or by mail to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
60 State Street
Wethersfield, CT 06161
Attn: Insurance refund