Zombie Speeding Ticket from 1991 Prevents Man from Renewing Driver’s License

Flemington, NJ – James Tubman, a resident of Flemington, recently encountered a surprising obstacle when he attempted to renew his driver’s license. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) informed him that he was ineligible due to an unresolved traffic violation dating back to 1991 in Arizona.

Tubman received an April 23 letter from the MVC stating that his driver record reflected a match in the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS). This system maintains records of individuals whose driving privileges are suspended or otherwise sanctioned in other states. Tubman had 30 days to resolve the issue with Arizona, either by obtaining a “no match letter” or by settling the matter to get a clearance letter.

Recalling the Incident

Tubman remembered the incident vividly. In 1991, during the final days of a vacation in Tombstone, Arizona, he was driving north to Scottsdale. After being stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle for 25 miles, he finally sped up upon merging onto I-10, only to be pulled over within 30 seconds. Tubman described the area as a “speed trap” and admitted he wasn’t sure if the ticket had been paid, as his late wife managed the family’s bills at the time.

Despite having renewed his license multiple times over the years without issue, Tubman now faced the challenge of clearing a ticket from more than three decades ago.

A Difficult Journey

Tubman’s efforts to resolve the ticket proved to be anything but straightforward. Initially, he reached out to court officials in Benson, Arizona, who advised him to email the justice of the peace for leniency. Despite doing so on August 30, he received no response.

As the 30-day deadline approached, Tubman sought help from his congressman and Governor Phil Murphy’s office. Although the administration connected him with an MVC supervisor who was helpful on the New Jersey side, Tubman still needed to resolve the issue with Arizona.

Tubman contacted Arizona’s motor vehicle agency, learning that he owed $101.15. He immediately sent a check and requested expedited processing of the necessary clearance letter. However, after waiting 11 days and seeing his check cashed without receiving the letter, he called again. He was informed that updates were made to a nationwide database, not through individual letters.

Further complications arose when Tubman was told he owed an additional $10 processing fee. After multiple failed attempts to pay the fee online, a representative finally assisted him over the phone, and the transaction went through.

Resolution at Last

Tubman reached out to his MVC contact, asking them to check the database. With the deadline looming, he sought assistance from Bamboozled, who reviewed his documentation and asked MVC to investigate. A few hours later, Tubman received confirmation that he was cleared and no further action was required.

Lessons Learned

Tubman’s experience highlights the importance of resolving outstanding violations, no matter how old. The MVC utilizes the PDPS to ensure that driver’s licenses are not issued or renewed if there are sanctions in other states, with no time limits on how far back they look.

MVC spokesman William Connolly emphasized that drivers must resolve any PDPS issues with the relevant state before New Jersey can proceed with license issuance or renewal.

Reflecting on his ordeal, Tubman expressed frustration that a decades-old ticket could still impact his driving privileges. “If I had robbed the Tombstone Bank on that same day in 1991, I’d be a free man by 1999,” he said, calling for a fairer policy that doesn’t look back indefinitely.

Tubman’s case serves as a cautionary tale: unresolved violations can resurface and cause unexpected consequences in today’s digital world. For anyone suspecting an outstanding ticket in another state, the MVC provides a list of state agencies to contact.

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