7 ON YOUR SIDE

Following costly computer glitch, DMV director stands by system

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The director of the D.C. DMV had to answer to the D.C. Council Friday after a computer glitch at the agency caused thousands of dollars of refunds, some dating back at least five years, to go unpaid.

Director Lucinda Babers believes the issue has been fixed and some 400 tickets are in the process of being refunded.

"Many times we don't [know] if there's a problem unless your office, another Council member's office, the customer themselves, the media, unless something somehow brings it to our attention," she said.

Frustrated motorists described hassles and long delays in trying to get tickets issued in error resolved, issues ABC7 News has been reporting on for over a year.

Despite 4,200 tickets awaiting an appeal hearing and a backlog of nearly two years, Babers stood by the system, insisting people wait out the process even in obvious cases of a bad ticket.

"Two years is much too long to wait, since especially you have to pay the fine pending the outcome of the appear," says Ward 3 D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh.

Stephen Comb received a ticket in November for disobeying a street sweeping sign, but all D.C. street sweeping signs clearly state street sweeping is not in effect in November, a fact easily found on D.C.'s website.

Still, Comb's initial challenge was denied by a DMV hearing examiner.

“I’ve personally not went out and looked at every street sweeping signs so I would ever stand in front of you and say what every street sweeping sign says and I’m amazed that you all can since you haven’t looked at them,” Babers said to reporters Friday. “I don’t make blanket statements when I don’t know if they are factual.”

The DMV is looking at a plan that could cut the appeal backlog to just 90 days by the end of the year and the D.C. Council will begin marking up legislation aimed at reforming the ticket adjudication system next month.

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