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REAL ID rollout stalls for some AAA members

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is in the process of removing a roadblock some residents have encountered while trying to get a REAL ID at AAA, Call 12 for Action has learned. 

The issue? Middle names vs. middle initials. 

One viewer posted to WPRI’s Facebook page, “After standing in line at AAA today I was told to go to the DMV.”

“Same thing happened to my mom,” wrote another viewer. 

DMV Administrator Bud Craddock acknowledged the issue.

“Shortly after we went live, we realized there was some inconvenience to customers,” Craddock told Call 12 for Action. 

The DMV began issuing REAL ID licenses and state-issued identification cards that comply with federal requirements on Dec. 3. 

“Whatever you present for your identity document, which is either your birth certificate or your passport, if you have a middle name or middle initial, that has to match the REAL ID credential,” Craddock explained.

For example, if your license only has a middle initial and your birth certificate or passport has your full middle name, the DMV has to update your name in its system.  

It’s an easy change at the DMV, but AAA employees did not have authorization to update middle names in the computer system, so some customers were turned away. 

“We didn’t know the amount of inconvenience it would cause, and it has caused some so that’s why we were quick to respond to make the modification,” Craddock said. 

The modification now allows AAA employees to change middle names in the computer system. Craddock said the DMV is in the process of training 75 AAA employees on the new transaction. 

Employees at six offices have been trained. The remainder will be trained by the end of January. 

Craddock said the DMV has not tracked how many people have been affected by the issue but overall, he said the DMV’s “soft launch” of REAL IDs has been very smooth. 

Lloyd Albert, a spokesperson for AAA, agreed the REAL ID rollout is off to a good start.

“The Rhode Island launch has gone particularly smoothly and we’re pleased to further enhance our partnership with the DMV on this important initiative,” Albert told Call 12 for Action. 

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, the federal government will require you to have either a REAL ID or a passport to get on a domestic passenger flight or to get into some federal facilities.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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