DiZoglio Calls for Investigation Into How 2,100 Drivers Received Licenses Without Road Tests

Sen. Diana DiZoglio. (Courtesy photograph.)

Sen. Diana DiZoglio, hoping to become the next state auditor, wants to know how 2,100 drivers apparently received licenses without taking road tests.

The Methuen Democrat wrote a letter to Senate President Karen Spilka on Sunday, blasting an “all-around calamity” at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and urged the chamber’s leadership to open a legislative investigation. Legislative leaders remained quiet Tuesday.

“We are hearing from many Massachusetts residents who took their road tests and are now being lumped in with persons who were granted licenses without taking them,” DiZoglio wrote in her letter to Spilka. “Worse, when these residents try calling the RMV or even report to the RMV in person, they are provided no answers as to why. This is unacceptable and they need an explanation immediately.”

DiZoglio said she wants lawmakers to seek “sworn testimony from the Administration, utilizing the full subpoena and record review powers within our purview, both to get to the bottom of what came to fruition and to prevent this from ever happening again.”

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said the Registry discovered “suspicious activity regarding the issuance of road tests” in 2020, then launched an internal investigation and referred the issue to law enforcement. Officials said the Registry determined that, starting in April 2018, two road test examiners at the Brockton Service Center gave passing scores to 2,100 Bay Staters who had never actually taken their road tests, allowing them to get licenses.

Those two examiners and two other service center employees were fired.

The agency sent letters to drivers who did not complete road tests, informing them they must now schedule and pass a road test, offered free of charge, within 10 days. Additional appointment times were made available, and a spokesperson said anyone who believes they received notice erroneously was given contact information.

In a televised interview that aired Sunday, Spilka said she does not believe the latest controversy imperils the RMV’s ability to handle the additional duties that would come under a pending bill to allow undocumented immigrants to acquire driver’s licenses.

“We’ve had issues with the Registry before, and I hope this maybe puts some parameters on the Registry,” Spilka said when asked if the news gave her pause about the push for the licensing bill. “There’s no evidence there was any fault of those who went to get their licenses. I don’t think that should be an issue.”

House Speaker Ronald Mariano’s office deferred comment to Transportation Committee co-chair Rep. William Straus, who helped lead a previous investigation into a 2019 controversy that engulfed the Registry.

Gov. Charlie Baker said last week that law enforcement agencies continue to work on the Brockton RMV case, which he said “didn’t happen for that long.”

Baker added he is “not worried about the culture” at the Registry, which also was at the center of a controversy in 2019 after a fatal crash in New Hampshire led to revelations that the agency failed to suspend licenses in thousands of instances based on out-of-state notices.

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