The state Department of Motor Vehicles estimated a minimum charge of $19,950 in response to an Associated Press reporter’s request last fall to determine whether poor people had their driver’s licenses suspended at a disproportionate rate.
The AP requested the number of suspended driver’s licenses by ZIP code, but the DMV said such a request would require special programming that would take 120 hours, at a cost of $135 per hour. In addition, the department would charge a fee of $750 for up to five hours to search the driver’s license database.
Any results found would be assessed a fee of 10 cents per record, DMV stated in its response.
“The total cost at this time is unknown, as the total number of records responsive to your request would be unknown until the file pass is complete,” the DMV wrote in September. “The total fee for the records would be required to be paid prior to production of the documents.”
The AP sought a meeting with the DMV’s public information and technology staff, but the agency never responded. DMV spokesman Artemio Armenta said the agency does not conduct research for the public and is protected by law from doing so.
The AP submitted a narrowed request and was given a new estimate of $377 for a copy of a statistical report. Ultimately, the AP decided not to pay for the report because it was unlikely to contain a breakdown of license suspensions.
It shows you can price your way out of scrutiny……….