11/7/2007Indiana to Revoke Driving Licenses Over Database Errors
Hundreds of thousands of Indiana motorists could lose their driving license over database errors.
As a result of adopting regulations designed to conform with REAL ID national identification card requirements, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMW) has threatened to cancel the licenses of 206,000 of the state's 4.5 million motorists. According to the BMV, database mismatches were flagged on the motorists' records after they were compared with a federal database. Motorists must now take action to correct any mistakes in the way the social security numbers, names and dates of birth were entered into the system or they will lose their ability to drive.
For example, a motorists who use a nickname or married name on a card might find themselves flagged as having "incorrect" information on their licenses and each will face long lines as thousands flood BMV offices to address the issue.
Indiana has spent the past eight years moving 200 million motorist data records from 1970s-era mainframe computers to a new, centralized system. Entitled STARS, the BMV computer now has the ability to co-ordinate with other federal databases, including the National Driver Register (NDR) that tracks 42 million traffic ticket recipients. The NDR itself is filled with inaccuracy and security holes, according to the Department of Transportation's Inspector General (view report).
Indiana's computer upgrade has caused a number of problems including the late issuance of renewal notices to drivers earlier this year. Officials are hopeful the bugs will be worked out and that new system features such as the use of facial recognition surveillance technology will allow the state to track not just the movement of vehicles, but the identity of passengers as well.