- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A court clerk said thousands of drivers across North Carolina have mistakenly lost their drivers’ licenses because the state Department of Motor Vehicles isn’t properly handling paperwork.

The DMV for months failed to properly update when drivers deal with a missed court date or unpaid fine for a ticket before their licenses are supposed to be suspended, Forsyth County Clerk of Court Susan Frye said.

So instead of erasing the item from their records, the errors stayed on records and caused the automatic suspensions.

“We’ve had people lose their jobs over this,” Frye told the Winston-Salem Journal (http://bit.ly/1RzMESf ).

A backlog of court records led to DMV employees not processing the reports in a timely fashion, DMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas told the newspaper in an email.

He said the problem is fixed. But Frye, who was getting dozens of calls a day at the peak of the problem several months ago, said she still is hearing from concerned drivers. Frye estimated thousands of drivers were affected, but the DMV has not released an exact number.

Frye said her office was told a disgruntled DMV employee shredded some of the error reports, adding to the problem.

DMV spokesman Steve Abbott would not comment on those allegations because the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General is investigating the problems with the DMV.

And to make things worse for the drivers caught up in the mistakes, some are having to pay a $100 fee to restore their licenses even if the suspensions were not their fault, public defender Nathan T. Schaal Wilsons said.

“It’s virtually impossible if the DMV is not reflecting what they’ve done,” he said.

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Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com

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