I just received an e-mail from a Massachusetts Resident who has never set foot in sunny California. Nevertheless, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has caused his driver’s license to be revoked here in Massachusetts. This happened through the National Driver Register, which is a nationwide computer system which state motor vehicle departments use to communicate with each other.
His license status in Massachusetts is listed as Revoked – NDR Violation – W00, California and the alleged violation date is listed as 1996. The victim of this revocation has a common name and I fully suspect that someone in California with the same name and date of birth has their license revoked in that state. So the revocation is technically valid. However, it should not be applied to the Massachusetts driver. The issue here is that social security numbers are not always listed in the revocation records or compared when applying the Indefinite NDR revocations to Massachusetts drivers.
A similar situation as described here was reported by the WBZ I-Team. I have handled a number of these cases at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts and I have found the Hearing Officers to be sympathetic to those who have the misfortune of sharing a name and birthday with an out of state scofflaw. The Registry Hearing officers will try to obtain as much information as possible from the state where the revocation has originated and, in some cases, they are able to make a determination that the Massachusetts customer is not the same person as the out of state customer.
Unfortunately, the Registry can’t work on the “honor system” and it must have some proof that the Mass. license holder is not the same individual whose right to operate has been suspended by the other state. Understandably, the Registry cannot override the NDR revocation based solely on the driver’s word. Therefore, if you have been the unlucky recipient of one of these letters, you should get as much information as possible from the state where the suspension has originated prior to seeing a Registry Hearing Officer.