More than 2,000 Massachusetts drivers must retake their road tests after they were wrongly given licenses at the Brockton Service Center, transportation officials said.
In a two-year scheme, Brockton Service Center employees granted licenses without road tests starting in April 2018. When a Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) supervisor noticed "suspicious activity" in 2020, the RMV launched an internal investigation and referred the issue to law enforcement, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said.
During the investigation, the RMV determined that approximately 2,100 drivers were granted licenses without taking a road test. Two road test examiners and two service center employees were fired from the Brockton Service Center. Letters have been sent to customers who did not complete the road test, according to MassDOT spokesperson Jacquelyn Goddard.
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“All of the impacted individuals have been contacted and will be required to take and pass a road test within 10 days," Goddard said. "The RMV has terminated four employees involved in this matter and will continue to work with law enforcement on their ongoing investigation.”
If the affected drivers don’t take the road test within ten days, their license will be suspended. If they take it and don’t pass, they will be given a learner’s permit. All testing will be free, according to the RMV, and affected drivers will be allowed to schedule appointments outside of normal road test hours if needed.
Several drivers told NBC10 Boston that despite being notified that they were affected by the scandal, they vividly remember taking their road tests.
"I don't know why my license is going to be suspended. I want an explanation," said Ethephana Pierre.
Daryce Morris said she watched her son take the road test three years ago. She said he is now away at college and will not be coming back to take a test he has already completed.
"I don't know how he got lumped in with this. There was no wrongdoing by a lot of people who took their test and are now being told they have to come in and retake them. I need more answers," Morris said.
State Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, who serves on the state's joint oversight committee on transportation, said he needs more answers too. He plans to call for a series of hearings on the issue to get to the bottom of it.
"This is a disaster. This is a complete meltdown. My very first question is, 'What happened?' Because they're being incredibly vague and limited in what they're telling us. How many people are impacted and how did this happen?" Lesser said.
RMV officials said they have taken steps since April 2021 to prevent this from happening again, including instituting additional controls in its system used for license transactions such as adjusting access to functions in the RMV system, revising business processes, and implementing enhanced monitoring and auditing of license transactions.
The beleaguered agency has a history of costly administrative mistakes.
If you received a letter from the RMV notifying you that you were affected by the scandal and remember taking the road test, we want to hear from you. Click here to contact the NBC10 Boston Investigators.
More on Mass. RMV
The registry revealed in 2019 that it failed to act on thousands of violations committed by Massachusetts drivers in other states, potentially allowing dangerous drivers to stay on the road.
In the wake of a crash that killed seven members of a motorcycle club in New Hampshire in June 2019, transportation officials revealed that the RMV failed to process thousands of notifications it received from other states, allowing them to pile up in boxes for years.
As the RMV worked to sift through a massive backlog of driving violations that came to light, the agency punished scores of innocent drivers, taking away their licenses in error, and forced some into a frustrating appeals process that can take weeks to resolve.