The people who issued the licenses also collected payments and put the money into cash boxes.
This led, not surprisingly, to many cases of petty theft.
Take away that card, and people will do almost anything to get it back.
They'll even pay their parking tickets."Suspension of a driver's license is more effective than a court order" for getting money out of people, says David Lewis, Deputy Registrar of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Back in 1984, when Lewis joined the Registry, Massachusetts motor vehicle records were a mess.
Five months could pass before a newly registered vehicle appeared on the DMV's computer system. The same was true of licensed drivers: More than a few people carried licenses that had no matching records in the state's computer system.
The government is using your driver's license to play Big Brother. But it's a privilege that has become a virtual necessity.
For many Americans, a driver's license is a also license to earn a living, see friends, go shopping, and get away from it all on the weekends.Things were not much better with the Registry's handling of money.Although most of the money the Registry collected was cash, not even the most basic cash accounting techniques were in place.(In Oregon, for instance, vehicle registration and driver licensing are currently handled by two separate and incompatible computer systems, although a client-based system is under development.) The new computer made it possible, for the first time, to block renewal of licenses or registrations of people who have outstanding parking tickets, who haven't paid their excise tax, or who owe money to the DMV.Although a computer hacker might think that an electronic system is more susceptible to fraud and abuse than a paper one, administrators feel otherwise.It wasn't a total disaster, though, because the state's paper records were the ones that really mattered.