Many drivers in Massachusetts do not realize that a license suspension or revocation, or even a conviction on a serious driving offense, leaves a long term mark on their records that can be accessed by several different types of inquirers. This blog will address the National Driver Register, and how information on your driving offenses – civil or criminal – can be stored by different states for others such as future employers and driving agencies to review.
What is the National Driver Register?
The National Driver Register – also known as the NDR – is a nationwide database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration containing private personal and driving information on millions of drivers across the country. The NDR is the primary channel by which different states interact with one another to report problem drivers, or drivers with license suspensions/revocations and driving-related criminal convictions.
This information is typically provided by the state in which the driver committed the offense leading to the suspension, revocation or conviction. Each state maintains the history of its own drivers as well as any record of driving offense that occurred by the out-of-state driver within the state’s boarders. That information typically includes the driver’s full name, DOB, license number/social secutiry number (depending on state), gender, height, and whether the driver’s license is valid or the driver is ineligible. Only those drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of a serious driving offense, will be recorded in the database.
Who can access my NDR record?
Information stored in the NDR is accessible by several different inquirers. For example, a state in which an individual applies for a driving license may access the database to search for any record on the applicant to ensure that he is still eligible for a license. If the database returns a report that reveals license suspensions or revocations in other states, the inquiring state may choose to deny the application. Furthermore, states that have already issued licenses may impose penalties on a driver if they discover through the NDR that the driver committed a serious offense in another state. For example,
Massachusetts will impose its own penalties on drivers who violated another state’s driving law and as a result are ineligible to drive in those other states.
A report from the NDR may also be requested by employers seeking to employ drivers. Employers may submit a report request by providing information to the NDR that the candidate for employment provides in his employment application. A report will then issue for the employer’s review, and the employer will provide the candidate with a copy of the report.
In fact, any one may request a copy of their own report from the NDR, or the report on another through the federal Privacy Act. The NDR will always respond with a report either indicating the driver’s status or indicating that no record will exist (if there has been no suspension/revocation or conviction reported). These reports are absolutely free of charge.
What to do if charged with a driving offense
The NDR is just another one of many tools by which state and federal transportation agencies communicate your personal driving information to one another and to other inquirers. Because that information is so accessible, and because it can have long lasting consequences on a driver’s personal and professional life, it is important that every driver accused with a driving offense contact an experienced defense attorney who will be able to challenge the accusations and advise the driver appropriately to protect him from further unnecessary or unexpected harm.