Department of Motor Vehicles


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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Responsibility Assessment Program

Issued: October 9, 2014
Link to full audit report 2013-S-53
Link to 90-day response

To determine whether the Department of Motor Vehicles (Department) has accurately assessed and attempted to collect all Driver Responsibility Assessment Program fees due from violators and that it suspended the licenses, or the privilege to obtain a license, of drivers who did not pay their assessed fees. Our audit covered the period April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.

The Department’s stated mission is to issue secure identity documents, to deliver essential motor vehicle and driver-related services, and to administer motor vehicle laws enacted to promote safety and protect consumers. In an effort to prevent the repeated behavior of problem drivers and to improve traffic safety, in November 2004, the State Legislature amended the Vehicle and Traffic Law (Law) establishing the Driver Responsibility Assessment Program (Program). The Law mandates the Department to assess and collect a fee of $250 per year for three years on drivers convicted of alcohol- or drug-related traffic violations or who refuse a chemical test. The Law also mandates a fee of $100 per year for the first six points and $25 for each additional point, for a three-year period, on drivers who accumulate six or more points on their driving record within an 18-month period. The Program database is maintained by the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS).

Key Findings

  • The Department accurately assessed all Program fees and either collected these fees or suspended the licenses or the privilege to obtain a license of drivers who did not pay.
  • The Department needs to improve its internal controls over manual adjustments made to the Program database by ITS staff. Several ITS employees have unrestricted access to the database and its contents. Although ITS has a procedure in place requiring that any manual changes be noted by the individual making the adjustment, changes that could potentially be done inappropriately - including cases where the person may want no record of the adjustment being made - are not automatically captured, recorded, or identifiable for subsequent review by the Department.

Key Recommendation

  • Work with ITS officials to establish an automated method to capture manual changes to the Program database for periodic review by the Department.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Department of Motor Vehicles: Oversight and Collection of Snowmobile Registration Fees (2011-S-54)
Department of Motor Vehicles: Motor Vehicle Financial Security and Safety Responsibility Acts: Statement of Assessable Expenses for the Three Fiscal Years Ended March 31, 2011 (2012-S-25)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236