The National Driver Register (NDR)

When faced with a license suspension for DUI, being a habitual traffic offender, ignition interlock violations, or other suspension reasons, many people believe that  getting a license in another state is a viable solution. For a number of reason, this is not likely a valid option. First, if your Massachusetts license is suspended or revoked, for any reason, having a license issued by another state is no defense. You are still committing the criminal offense of driving on a suspended license, even though you may have a license from another state. The Massachusetts suspension will take precedence, in Massachusetts, over the other license and you can be arrested and prosecuted for operating after suspension or revocation.

Secondly, the National Driver Register (NDR) will likely prevent you from getting a new license in another state if your Massachusetts license is suspended or revoked. The NDR was designed to the assist Registry and Motor Vehicle Departments in exchanging information about the motor vehicle driving records of individuals, so that a driver with a suspended license is unable to get a license in another state.

The National Driver Register is a computerized database where driving records are cross-referenced to identify drivers who are under suspension or revocation. The National Driver Registry maintains a problem driver “pointer system,” and adverse information about a driver in that system is relied upon by the State to deny license issuance or renewal. The “Problem Driver Pointer System” is a system whereby the NDR causes information regarding the motor vehicle driving records of individuals to be exchanged between the State which took adverse action against a driver (State of Record) and the State requesting the information (State of Inquiry).The system works by matching the driver’s last name and first few characters of the driver’s first name and date of birth. It does not depend on license or social security number matching as a primary means of identification. The Massachusetts RMV and motor vehicle departments throughout the country check the NDR prior to issuing or renewing a driver’s license.

Prior to the implementation of the National Driver Register and the Problem Driver Pointer System, states relied on the Driver License Compact, which was an agreement between states to share information regarding DUI license actions, drunk driving suspensions, and other reportable convictions and license transactions. Under this system, it was possible to “dodge the bullet” if a state where the suspension originated was not a member of the Driver License Compact. Now, all 50 states have converted to the National Driver Register’s Problem Driver Pointer System, which was established through federal legislation.

Additionally, in Massachusetts, the RMV Board of Appeals looks upon out of state license applications which are filed close in time with a Massachusetts suspension with suspicion. The Board is familiar with individuals trying to get licensed in other states in order to avoid the consequences of their actions and it  will likely hold this against the individual in any hardship license hearing.

If you are facing a license suspension or revocation, the best course of action is to consult with a license suspension specialist such as Attorney Brian E.  Simoneau or Attorney Paul B. Watkins and appeal the suspension.  License suspensions can be appealed to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance, and to the courts. It may be possible to avoid the suspension completely, reduce the suspension time, or get a hardship driver’s license.