Mass. Officials “Failed To Act” On 365 Serious CDL Offenses, Review Finds
Boston, Massachusetts – A week after the former head of Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles (MRMV), Erin Deveney, resigned for failing to uphold her duties, a new bombshell report released on Monday details the extent of the systemic failure.
In a press briefing on Monday, Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Governor Charlie Baker revealed results from an internal review of the MRMV’s failure to properly process out-of-state violation reports.
The review was sparked by the alarming realization that 23-year-old Ukranian immigrant Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, who is facing seven counts of vehicular homicide after a crash in New Hampshire on Friday, June 21, claimed the lives of seven motorcyclists, should have had his commercial driver’s license (CDL) suspended.
Zhukovskyy was arrested in East Windsor, Connecticut on May 11, and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.
Governor Baker admitted on Monday that Connecticut officials sent the proper notification to the MRMV that should have triggered a suspension of Zhukovskyy’s CDL.
“The MRMV failed to act on critically important information that had been previously communicated by another state,” Governor Baker said. “This failure is completely unacceptable to me and to the residents of the Commonwealth, who expect the MRMV to do its job and track drivers’ records.”
Pollack said the Connecticut referral about Zhukovskyy’s arrest was “kicked out” into a queue that employees were supposed to review manually, but no one ever did.
Making matters worse, Pollack said the review found that 365 additional CDL notices “reflecting serious offenses” were sent and ignored from March 2018 until the present.
Pollack reported that beginning in March 2018 employees “stopped processing out-of-state notifications and simply sorted them into mail bins and stored them in a records room” at the Quincy’s MRMV headquarters.
“We’re still trying to understand why in March of 2018 people stopped processing the paper notifications entirely, but that appears to be what happened,” Pollack said.
However, she said only Zhukovskyy’s notice rose to the level of suspension.
The MRMV’s failures didn’t just stop with CDL notices.
Pollack acknowledged officials have already found more than 600 unopened notices from other states where driver’s license suspensions of Bay State drivers were warranted.
As of Tuesday, the MRMV retroactively suspended 546 Massachusetts driver’s licenses Pollack said should have already been acted upon.
Pollack attempted to alleviate motorists concerns by asserting the MRMV has “changed how we do business” in order to prevent another buildup of paper or electronic reports.
The MRMV will also undergo an outside audit that Pollack says will be important to helping the department get answers to still looming questions.
“We’ve asked the auditors to create a timeline because this responsibility has moved around over time, and that’s one of the issues we need to get a better understanding of,” she said.
“We know at one point in time whose job it was. We know that, at one point in time, it was shifted to the Merit Rating Board. But we are still really trying to understand who made which decisions about where it moved and whose responsibility it was.”
When asked if she believes she should resign, Pollack said, “the governor has asked me to fix it and I’m going to fix it.”