2000 News Archive

Registry Myths Dispelled

Registrar Daniel A. GrabauskasWhen I became Registrar of Motor Vehicles last September, I asked that all Registry employees take a pledge with me; a zero tolerance pledge for long waits, discourteous service, untidiness in our offices and carelessness in our work. We hope that our work to date is resulting in less stress and less wasted time for you, our customers. Though we have a ways to go, our employees have taken great strides toward reaching these ultimate goals.

Along the way, I have heard some pretty outrageous stories about Registry procedures and how to get around them. Following this advice will end up getting you a big mess on your hands. So, whenever my colleagues and I hear about one of these "myths," we do our best to try to dispel it immediately. This is not always easy; when people are told about a consequence free solution to their problems they certainly want to believe it. Here are the three most common myths that I’ve come across.

Myth #1 - There is a surefire way to avoid surcharges on your car insurance if you get a ticket.

I was recently shown the following email:

"If you get a Traffic ticket - - This has been tried and it works. If you get a speeding ticket or went through a red light or whatever the case may be, and you are going to get points on your license, then there is a method to ensure that you DO NOT get any points. When you get your fine, send in your check to pay for it and if the fine is say, $79, then make the check out for $82 or some small amount over the fine. The system will then have to send you back a check for the difference, but here is the trick!


Throw it away!! Points are not assessed to your license until all financial transactions are completed. If you do not cash the check, then the transactions are NOT complete. However, the system has gotten its money and is happy and will not bother you anymore. This information comes from an unmentionable computer company used by each state’s DMV. Good luck!!! Let’s put these cops in their place!"

Fact #1 - I can actually understand where something this strange may sound true, but it isn’t. Follow this route and the only thing you will do is create more work for everyone. The Registry does, in fact, issue refund checks for overpayment and for your sake we hope that you will deposit them. But even if you don’t cash the check, the system will still charge you any surcharge points.

Myth #2 -There is something called an "International Driver’s License" and you need one to drive in a foreign country and you can use one to avoid local law enforcement.

I was recently shown a website that read:

"Need a new driver's license? Too many points or other trouble? Want a license that can never be suspended or revoked? Want ID for nightclubs or hotel check-in? Avoid tickets, fines, and mandatory driver's education. Protect your privacy, and hide your identity.

The United Nations gave you the privilege to drive freely throughout the world! (Convention on International Road Traffic of September 19, 1949 & World Court Decision, The Hague, Netherlands, January 21, 1958)

Take advantage of your rights. Order a valid International Driver's License that can never be suspended or revoked.

Confidentiality assured.


Fact #2 - This is a bogus offer. There simply is no such thing as an International Driver’s License. Unfortunately, there are people out there ready to rip off an unsuspecting public. Many of these scams are designed to dupe people who are not familiar with the law, such as international students and others spending limited time in the U.S. or another country. Massachusetts law allows people from more than 130 different nations to drive in the U.S. for up to a year using a license from their native country(U.S. citizens have the same rights in these foreign countries). As for those who have lost their licenses, it’s tough enough to lose your privilege to drive, don’t let yourself get bamboozled by a con-man as well.

Myth #3 - Low number license plates are reserved for "insiders," and these plates are a "secret signal" to the police so you’ll never get a ticket if you have one of these plates.

massrmv.com logoFact #3 - This is not true. Low number plates are not reserved for VIP’s nor are they overlooked by law enforcement officials. Still, people love their low numbered plates. Since 1996 the Registry has annually held a low number plate lottery and will again this year. For those interested, applications will be available July 10th and must be submitted by August 18th for our September 14th drawing. The easiest way to get an application is by visiting our website at massrmv.com. You may also drop by a branch office or call us at 617-351-4500.

Log on to massrmv.com for loads of factual information about the Registry’s procedures, how to download forms, and to find out about RMV transactions you can do online that could save you a trip to a branch.

Members of the media, please contact the RMV Public Relations Department for more information: feedback.registry@state.ma.us.



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