WETHERSFIELD – The Department of Motor Vehicles plans a special study of license holders with multiple suspensions and violations to review whether changing laws and regulations makes it possible to reduce those numbers of violators.
“As a new Commissioner at DMV, this an issue I think we need to look at closely,” Commissioner Melody A. Currey said. “We need to determine if DMV can do more,” she added.
Commissioner Currey said that the DMV will study the statistics related to these offenses as well as the current laws and regulations. Part of this examination will include what kinds of other actions can be a deterrent to the behavior leading to multiple suspensions and violations. She expects the study to take about six weeks.
She plans to bring together a study committee of outside representatives including law enforcement, State Police, legislators and prosecutors as well as DMV’s licensing officials, legal and regulatory staff. The Commissioner, the former mayor of East Hartford, also will testify before the legislature’s Transportation Committee on this matter.
At present license holders usually receive a suspension either as a result of a court conviction for a driving offense mandating a suspension or for failing to appear in court on a motor vehicle-related charge. Suspensions can also result from judges’ orders as a condition of bail or probation.
There also are drivers with habitually multiple violations and under certain circumstances DMV can suspend their licenses. State regulation (14-137-82) authorizes a 30-day suspension for a history of unsafe operation of a motor vehicle. Under this section, on the fourth conviction for specific moving violations that occur within a two-year period DMV can impose this 30-day suspension.
At present about 130,000 license holders, about 3 percent of the total number of licensed drivers in the state, are under suspension for various reasons. Most suspensions result from failure to appear in court and as of December 2010 amounted to about 64,000 drivers. Another 19,000 were suspended for failing to satisfy operator re-training. The combined total for both categories is 64 percent of the 130,000 under suspension.
At present nearly 1,000 license holders, included in the 130,000, are under suspension for having six or more points on their licenses. When reaching 10 points a person’s driver license is suspended for 30 days. A change to state law in 1995 allowing mail-in payments made it more difficult for the point system to issue suspensions to those drivers who are habitual offenders.
The following language was added in 1995 to section 14-137a: “ No points shall be assessed for an infraction or any violation specified in subsection (b) of section 51-164n for which the person sends payment of the fine and any additional fees or costs established for such infraction or violation to the Centralized Infractions Bureau in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of section 51-164n.”
These persons may be required to attend operator retraining classes, possibly on multiple occasions, but may not have any points on their driving histories.