Some Massachusetts drivers tell 7-Investigates their licenses were threatened with suspension after they got baffling letters in the mail from the RMV. What’s going on? 7’s Hank Phillippi Ryan has the story.

Joan did not expect a letter from the Massachusetts RMV. When she opened it…

“I was floored. I was absolutely floored,” Joan said.

Joel got the same letter.

“I was stunned, and I was upset,” Joel said.

They were being threatened with suspension of their drivers’ licenses.

“I was freaking out,” Joan said.

The letter listed a specific “offense date” but no details.

“I was going through trying to remember what happened that day. You know, was there anything going on that day that was out of the ordinary?” Joan said.

The offense – according to the letters: “complaint medical.”

Joel called his doctor and local police. Both told him no one filed a complaint against him.

“I was scared. I don’t know what serious thing could I have ever done that would cause somebody to suspend my license,” Joel said.

The serious-sounding letters said if they didn’t “request a hearing with the RMV” soon, their licenses would be suspended for “an INDEFINITE TIME.”

“It’s crazy,” Joan said.

We found a bunch of these letters went out to Massachusetts drivers this fall.

We found a bunch of these letters went out to Massachusetts drivers this fall. 

The Registry won’t tell us how many it sent, but attorney Brian Simoneau says he has been inundated with calls from frantic drivers. 

“These people were horrified. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve been practicing for 20 years,” Simoneau said.

Joan found out what all the fuss was about at her hearing.

“It wasn’t a complaint,” Joan said.

The Registry just wanted her to get an eye exam.

“It took up my life for like three weeks just worrying about it,” Joan said.

The RMV tells 7-Investigates the letters are “courtesy reminders” to drivers who need to get an updated vision test to keep their license active.

Of course, drivers need to be able to see well. But why didn’t the RMV just explain that in the letters?

“They got these letters making them sound like they are public enemy number one and that they were in big trouble with the registry,” Simoneau said. “And that’s really kind of the crux of the problem. The letters weren’t informational in nature. They cause more confusion than anything else.”

Joan passed her eye exam, sent in the results, and her ordeal was over.

But Joel says his license was suspended after he called the RMV multiple times to find out what the letter was about and tried to arrange a hearing.

When he finally found out he needed an eye exam, he got one, passed, and sent the RMV the results. But his license was still suspended!

“I am furious, and I am so frustrated,” Joel said.

After we contacted the Registry, Joel’s license was reinstated. The RMV says it is reviewing how it handles these reminder letters.

If you got a letter like this, or have a tip or story idea we’d like to hear from you.


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