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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New glitch with driver's licenses affects 1,400 more motorists



For the second time in two weeks, Florida motorists have been hit with a computer glitch in state government that resulted in the printing of more flawed driver's licenses.

The state agency that prints licenses confirmed Monday that a new mistake resulted in 1,402 more drivers getting flawed licenses after updating their information online. Those motorists paid $27 each to update their address on their licenses, but the cards they got in the mail had the old address — in violation of state law.

Spokeswoman Beth Frady of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said all 1,402 motorists will get corrected licenses in the mail that were mailed Monday. Frady said the problem happened to drivers who updated their addresses online between noon Oct. 8 and noon Oct. 9.

The first glitch affected 8,576 people over a five-day period between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1. State motor vehicle officials cited a "synchronization delay" in antiquated computer hardware. The agency is asking the Legislature for more than $8 million to modernize its mainframe computer system to prevent such problems from happening in the future.

Most Florida residents get their driver's licenses through the offices of elected county tax collectors. Motorists who move within the state are required by law to update their address within 10 days, and those who do it online get a new license from the highway safety agency

Frady said the agency discovered the problem last Friday and implemented new system checks, including manual reviews of all changes to driver's licenses.

"We're concerned for our customers," Frady said. "We understand that it's an inconvenience for them."

Frady said the glitch underscores the need for more money for computer system improvements. "We are being 100 percent reactive." she said. "We don't like that and our senior leadership team doesn't like that."

The highway safety agency is under the direction of Gov. Rick Scott and the three elected Cabinet members. The agency said it was being totally transparent in coping with its latest customer service headache and held a Monday afternoon conference call with the executive board of the state association of tax collectors to explain what happened.

[Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2015 2:52pm]


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