Mistaken for a Dead Man? Oklahoma Driver’s License Renewal Gets Complicated

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Kaye Beach
August 8, 2013

In recent months I have personally had a number of people tell me that they have had more than the usual hassle when trying to get their licenses renewed or replaced.  They are being redirected from the tag agency to the Dept. of Public Safety and the problem seems to be that their name or other identifying information was similar to another person that had some violation of fine on their driving record.

Often the matter was cleared up by a visit to the Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) but even in the most straightforward of circumstances, these people anywhere from a few hours or even days of work or school to dealing with the DPS and they are none to happy about it.

The National Drivers Registry

From what I can tell, many of these problems trace back to the National Drivers Registry (NDR) Every state submits information to the NDR about drivers who have had the driver’s license suspended, revoked or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations. (NHSTA.gov)

When a person applies for a driver’s license or renewal the DMV (or in our case, a Tag Agency) the person’s name and other identifying information such as date of birth, license number or social security number, is checked to see if they show up on the National Drivers Registry. If there is a match, he or she has to go to the state Department of Public Safety in order to clear the problem up before a driver’s license can be issued.

(More about the NDR http://www.nhtsa.gov/Data/National+Driver+Register+(NDR) )

Mistaken for a dead man

In one case that I am aware of, a young man with a rather common name, lost at least a day of school day at DPS to prove that he was not another man in another state who was actually deceased but also had an outstanding traffic ticket on his record.  Mistaken identity?  The solution was straightforward enough –go to the Dept. of Public Safety, they compare the information and the young man is cleared.

The never ending story

In reality, he lost two half days of school waiting in line at the Dept. of Public Safety. And it doesn’t end there. This gentleman found out that he, like many others with this ‘mistaken identity’ issue, can look forward to going through the same issue again and again -every time he needs a new driver’s license. The National Driver’s registry cannot be annotated in any way to indicate that the matter has already been investigated and cleared.

For those who may have had an old ticket or violation that had actually been settled but is erroneously showing up in the system, the problem gets even stickier. They have to sort the matter out with the state that the information originates from before they can hope to get their Oklahoma license. This can takes days or even months and sometimes even a trip in person back to the originating state.

The burden is on you

So the National Driver’s License registry is designed to make it hard for an offender to escape punishment or penalties by making sure their record follows them no matter which state they may go. This system provides obvious utility for government but what about the completely innocent person that is losing time and money to prove their innocence and can look forward to repeating the same process every few years?

And why are tag agencies are empowered to issue driver’s licenses why can they not receive the information that will allow them to do their jobs efficiently and verify this info on the spot?

Redirects on the Rise?

Judging from the number of spontaneous reports I have been receiving on this specific problem, this is happening to many people lately. The National Drivers Registry in not a new system but problems associated with it seems to be on an uptick. I wonder why?

I would be interested in hearing from others who have experienced this or similar bureaucratic nightmares involving their Oklahoma state driver’s license.



4 responses to “Mistaken for a Dead Man? Oklahoma Driver’s License Renewal Gets Complicated

  1. My license expires in a couple of months. If I go to renew it will it already have the star? And what’s the real reason for the powers that be wanting to know whether or not I am a veteran? Kinda creepy.

  2. Pingback: Driver’s License Renewal Gets Complicated | The Freedom Watch

  3. Not with that but a traffic stop about a tail light. The officer took my DL and insurance back to his car. Not long after there were two more cops there with their spotlights on me. The officer came back and ask if I had ever been to some county. I said ‘I don’t think so I’m not sure where it’s at’. It turns out there was somebody there with a felony drug warrant and I’m guessing the same name. After some more conversation with the officer things were takeen care of and I was on my way.

  4. I’ve lived in Okla.16 years. When I needed to renew my Okla DL last time they made me go from the tag agency to a Drivers station on the south side of town. The tag agency said they didn’t know why they had to send me there just to renew my license. I waited several hours in a standing room only waiting room. I kept calling Dept of Public Safety while waiting, asking what was the matter. Could never get through to anyone who could tell me. They suggested coming in person to DPS and waiting there. So left my place in line (number machine was broken) and went straight to Dept of Public Safety on north side of town. Finally talked to a lady who said it was a the points from a 16 year old traffic ticket from Ohio. The two state systems had not come online together until recently so now it showed up. But I had to go to three places (Classen Tag, a DL testing station on the south side, and Dept of Pub Safety) to find out what it was. I took care of it by complete a 10 hour driving course online *all that night* because my deadline was the next day for my license to lapse. It was harrowing. If the state records are all online, why did I have to work so hard to get the information? Why didn’t they let me know before I came to the tag agency on the last day? I stayed up all night to pass the online course in one sitting due to finding out about the 16 year old problem at the last possible moment. In this high tech age. Why?

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