Liz Burke, WPRO News
Automatic license or registration suspensions for certain types of accidents are a thing of the past at the Rhode Island DMV. Currently in the state, if you are involved in an accident that causes bodily injury and/or more than $1,000 in damages, the state requires you to fill out not only the police report but also an accident report with the Division of Motor Vehicles. If you fail to fill out the DMV report, you are suddenly faced with having your license and/or registration suspended.
According to the DMV, this little known fact has caused 11,500 people currently in Rhode Island to have their licenses and/or registrations to be suspended. The DMV’s new administrator Anthony Silva tells WPRO’s Matt Allen that the reason for the two separate reports is to hold people accountable.
“You’ve got to keep in mind that when people are involved in a crash on the highways, particularly now with the compulsorily insurance laws that we have, it’s imperative that someone, somewhere is auditing these reports to insure that the person who hit you has insurance,” says Silva.
But Silva says on the Matt Allen show that the 11,500 people currently with suspended licenses or registrations because they failed to file a report is a problem that needs to be fixed. Silva says they are coming up with a better system that would allow the need for only one report.
“We feel great confidence now that by making some simple changes to that police report as we know it that we will be able to capture all the information and then some that the current state report captures. So we’ll be able to eliminate the state report that is getting all these people’s licenses suspended,” says Silva.
Silva tells Matt Allen that, even though the new system is not in place yet, the DMV stopped suspending licenses in October 2012. But this isn’t to say that everyone is off the hook.
“In the future, people who file their police report won’t get suspended for failing to file it, we’re going to eliminate that. However, those people who did not have insurance or were not accountable to the victims in the crashes, we will still be suspending those licenses,” says Silva.
He also adds that the current 11,500 people with suspensions still need to have their licenses and registrations renewed. The DMV hopes to have the new system started by July 2013.