State audit finds fault with drivers’ license data

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A report compiled by the state auditor’s office says the Department of Driver Services should tighten up its administrative procedures to prevent “erroneous or incomplete information” from being included in its driver’s license records.

“We reviewed critical data elements in the driver records, and identified problems including incorrect addresses, missing and unreliable conviction case numbers, and missing blood alcohol levels for DUI convictions,” said the report released by State Auditor Greg Griffin.

“In addition, driver records do not include several data elements [such as license suspensions for DUIs] that are recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or are required by state and federal regulations,” the report said.

Georgia could lose as much as $30 million in federal highway funds because of this missing license data, the report cautioned.

In their response to the audit report, agency officials said:

DDS agrees with the statements regarding the importance of the completeness and accuracy of the data, the ability to implement additional edit checks, and the need for more specific goals and performance measures.

DDS noted that it monitors the performance of the Data Entry and Validation teams through quarterly performance reviews and has established performance goals for ensuring that all updates of conviction data are added to the customers’ driving records. DDS plans to make periodic reviews of certain additional data elements to detect errors and to continue to investigate address verification rules.

The leadership at DDS was changed in October when Gov. Nathan Deal promoted Robert G. Mikell to the position of commissioner, where he replaced Greg Dozier. Dozier was named assistant commissioner and chief of staff at the state Department of Corrections.

Ironically, the audit report on license data shortcomings was issued just a few days after Deal’s office sent out a news release announcing that Georgia was in full compliance with the “Real ID” law administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Real ID act requires states to meet 18 security standards in the issuance of driver’s licenses and identification cards so that these cards can be used for such purposes as boarding an airplane or entering a federal building.

“The Georgia Department of Driver Services worked in a responsible manner to make certain the deadline for this requirement was met,” Deal said in the news release. “As a result, Georgians are among the first Americans to receive this new, more-secure form of ID.”

© 2012 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Department of Driver Services , driver's liceense data , Real ID law , state auditor