In October, when House Bill 4795, (PDF) the new Massachusetts Safe Driving Law is signed by the Governor, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will no longer require drivers to attend the National Safety Council Driver Retraining Course for having accumulated 5 surchargeable events, which are citations and at fault surchargable accident s within a 5 year period. This requirement will be replaced by a new driver retraining requirement.

Under the new law, the Mass. RMV will require drivers to attend and complete the eight (8) hour driver retraining program offered by the National Safety Council (NSC) when a driver has accumulated three (3) surchargeable events within a two year period. The RMV requires successful completion of the NSC driving course is required within ninety (90) days from the date of the suspension notice. If the NSC does not electronically notify the Mass. Registry of program completion within the required time period, the Registry will indefinitely suspend the driver’s license and right to operate in Massachusetts. Through the National Driver Register, this mandatory indefinite suspension will prohibit the driver from operating in other states. No hardship license can be granted and the 3 surchargeable event suspension cannot be delayed or shortened, unless the driver’s record upon which the suspension is based is found to be inaccurate.

It appears that the goal of requiring the driving course after 3 surchargeable events within a 2 year period is to encourage safe driving, because the drivers will be required to take and pass the NSC course at an earlier point in time, as compared to the old 5 surchargeable event system.

The law does not change the requirement for the Registry to suspend the license of anyone who accumulates seven (7) surchargebale events within any three (3) year period. Contrary to what the Registry states in the suspension letter, it is possible to successfully appeal these suspensions and, in some cases, the suspensions can be completely vacated, reduced, or the driver can obtain a limited 12 hour Massachusetts hardship license.

If you have any questions regarding 3, 5, or 7 surchargeable event license suspensions, e-mail Attorney Brian E. Simoneau or contact him by telephone at 508-565-0057.