CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A glitch in the “REAL ID” program involving middle names and initials has now been fixed, according to the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The DMV said a person’s name or middle initial prevented several people from switching to the new “REAL ID” license. Due to a glitch in the computer system, the digital records did not always match a person’s identifying document.
According to the DMV, the identity document, in the form of a birth certificate or passport, must exactly match the “REAL ID” credential and license. If it didn’t match, a DMV employee needed to manually change it in the system.
The DMV said employees of the American Automobile Association (AAA), whose offices many Rhode Islanders use to renew motor vehicle licenses and permits, didn’t have that “computer privilege.”
“We had to make a business decision to allow the employees at AAA to make a change to the customer record,” DMV administrator Bud Craddock said. “We did it in a very limited way, so they could only change the middle name or middle initial so it would correspond.”
Before this adjustment, several people told Eyewitness News they were told they had to make an extra trip to the DMV.
Craddock said the DMV spent a month training 80 AAA employees, and they can now make that name change.
Under the REAL ID program, the biggest difference with the cards is a yellow star in the top right corner and some extra documents that will be required to verify a person’s identity.
Identification cards with the star are certified in a uniform nationwide system courtesy of the REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005. People in every state will have to provide a series of documents when getting a REAL ID-compliant card.
“Since our launch in December, we’ve done about 65,000 license and identification card transactions. Over that time period, about 25,400 have opted for the REAL ID,” Craddock said. “If you’re not going to fly, or if you’re not going to go into any of those particular federal facilities, then you don’t need a REAL ID.”
While there’s no additional charge to get a REAL ID when a person’s current license expires and is renewed, anyone who chooses to get a REAL ID early, will be charged a $26.50 fee.