BMV should pay up what it owes


It’s time the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles paid what it owes Hoosier motorists for overcharging them for routine services over a period of years.

Agency officials have acknowledged overcharging drivers by at least $60 million for things such as licenses, vehicle registrations and other services since 2013.

The BMV was sued and ordered to refund millions of drivers between $1 and $50 each.

But an Indianapolis attorney representing many of those in a class-action settlement said the BMV has not turned over $4.5 million to the state’s unclaimed property fund, which is money owed to customers who have not collected their refunds, according to a recent report from the Indianapolis Star.

Irwin Levin, the attorney involved in the class-action lawsuit, cited one plaintiff who tried to collect her $8 refund but was notified by a letter that the money was not available. It’s been 13 months since the BMV was supposed to transfer the funds, according to the report.

An accounting firm was hired in 2014 to examine the agency’s operations.

The agency agreed to make changes after it was discovered a former BMV commissioner and other top officials knew for years that residents were being overcharged for driver’s licenses and other fees, but did nothing to stop it until the class-action lawsuit was filed.

There’s no easy fix for the troubled BMV, which has ill-served Indiana residents and in the past has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted to do the right thing on its own.

State Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, who serves on the House Transportation Committee, told The Star, the BMV “is one agency that cannot be trusted to act on its own.”

We commented in 2015 that there should be independent oversight of the BMV, the second largest agency in the state.

These latest actions show that continues to be true.

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