Mix up at DMV was human error — but a big upgrade starts Wednesday

Local News

A mix-up at the Department of Motor Vehicles got licenses of two men sent to each other’s houses — on different sides of the island.

City officials say it was the result of human error. 

However, the city is beefing up the DMV to help with driver license processing and upgrading other services.

One man — from Honolulu —  wanted to update his license to a Gold Star, REAL ID version, to get ahead of a new federal law that will take effect next year.

Ralph Taniguchi from Honolulu went to the City and County website to order a duplicate — but that’s not what he got. 

He spoke with us, but didn’t want to be on-camera.

“Unfortunately I received, in the mail, an envelope with my name on it, but someone else’s temporary license in that envelope.”

He turned in the other man’s ID to Satellite City Hall Downtown and got a temporary, Gold Star version, with a plastic one to come in the mail soon.

Of the mix-up, City and County of Honolulu Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara says: 

“So we found that there was a clerk error, where she put the wrong card in the wrong envelope before it was sent out.”

The employee received retraining.

To help prevent future mix-ups, the City will stop mailing out temporary Gold Star duplicates — since people requesting them already have valid licenses — since temporary IDs are not accepted for travel — and since the Gold Star rule doesn’t take effect until October first of next year.

Not everybody will need an updated license.

Kajiwara says, “we do want people to know that the gold star is optional. It’s only if you plan to travel, and you don’t want to use a passport or military ID or a federal ID and you want to use your driver license or State ID then that document needs the gold star.”

Still, the city is beefing up the DMV in preparation for a flood of Gold Star requests — especially as next year’s deadline draws closer.

One way– is an upgrade to the online appointment booking system. Starting Wednesday, people can book DMV appointments up to six months in advance.

Those without computer access can call the Customer Care phone number (768-4381) during business hours. 

If you’re online-savvy, you can find the licensing and appointment link and more help here.

Driver licensing site: http://www.honolulu.gov/license

DMV appointment booking: https://alohaq.honolulu.gov/?0

Gold Star and more frequently asked questions: FAQs

What documents will I need? https://www2.honolulu.gov/documentguide/

Still up in the air, is the location of Ralph Taniguchi’s license — that was mailed to Kaneohe — we’re working to find out.

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