Ohio BMV's ability to issue driver's licenses, state ID cards sporadic because of computer issues

Letters are available at the bureaus for people seeking a license who can’t get one.
MCT Regional News
Jan 9, 2014

It has been hit or miss for Ohio drivers trying to get a driver’s license at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles because of recurring computer problems.

A check at area branches indicates that only a few people a day have been able to obtain a license because the system is up and down — and mostly it has been down — since Monday.

Letters are available at the bureaus for people seeking a license who can’t get one. The letters explain that there was a computer glitch that prevented the transaction.

“We are issuing letters to customers who cannot get their drivers license. That way, if someone is pulled over by law enforcement, they can let them know that it was on our end, so they wouldn’t be penalized,” Lindsay Bohrer, public information officer for the BMV, said.

Bohrer said a state BMV supervisor misspoke when indicating Wednesday that the issue was a national problem.

“He got confused because the system is used nationally, and we tap into it to make sure there are no other issues with the driver in other states,” Bohrer said. “The problem started when we updated the Problem Driver Pointer System by adding software called CDLIS, for Commercial Driver Licensing Information System, which impacted the issuance of driver’s licenses.

“We do not know if other states were updating at this time as well.”

The problem is having a serious impact on many who need the permit to drive commercial vehicles or show proper identification.

“Nothing was issued by the state to let the public know because the outages were sporadic; there was a breakdown in internal communication,” Bohrer said.

One Barberton woman said she needed to replace her license because her purse was stolen. She was to start a new job Wednesday night at a restaurant that serves alcohol, so she is required to have her driver’s license on file.

“I’m freaking out. What could have caused this?” asked Sonya McWilliams, 30. “This was the second license bureau I visited. This time they told me don’t bother going anywhere else because it was down everywhere. With all of our technology and software upgrades in this country and in the world, this shouldn’t be happening, unless someone caused this. It could be a virus, but why are they so hush-hush about it. I just hope we’re not under a terrorist attack or hackers.”

Eric Pollock, 34, of Akron, went to the BMV office Wednesday on Wolf Ledges Parkway, excited that an 18-month suspension had been lifted and he was going to get his license again.

“They said service was down and they didn’t have a time frame when it would be up and running again,” Pollock said. “They told me to just give them a call before I came in again. I can’t blame them, there’s nothing they could do about it.”

Workers said they check the system every 15 minutes and call the state almost hourly to check on whether it will be running again soon.

The office supervisor said the interrupted service has been a problem since Monday and it appeared to be a state issue.

Pollock took it all in stride after his initial disappointment.

“I’ve been waiting this long, so I guess after waiting 17 or 18 months without a license, I can wait a couple of more days.”

———

By Marilyn Miller - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services