The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (MCSIA) requires all state Motor Vehicle Departments to verify a license holder or license applicant’s driving record through checks of both the National Driver Register (NDR) and Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS), prior to issuing or renewing a driver’s license or CDL. This means that you cannot have your license suspended in one state and apply for a license in another state to avoid the suspension or revocation.
Every state has to check the National Driver Register and it does not matter whether a particular state is a member of any driver’s license compact or non-resident violator compact. The National Driver Register (NDR) is a central computerized database which contains information regarding drivers whose license or right to operate a motor vehicle has been denied, revoked suspended, or canceled, for a valid reason, or those individuals who have been convicted of enumerated serious traffic-related violations, such as operating under the influence (OUI).
When a Motor Vehicle Department in any state, including the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, discovers that an individual has a status of “ineligible” or “blocked” in the NDR, the DMV cannot issue or renew the person’s driver’s license. This requires the driver to contact the state which placed the block on his or her NDR record to have it removed. Under this system, Motor Vehicle Departments can avoid granting driver’s licenses to those individuals whose records contain serious violations such as DUI or those who have lost their right to drive in other states.
If you have an NDR block on your record, you are entitled to be provided with the reference number and contact information for the agency which has placed the NDR block on your record. Sometimes these blocks are the product of identity theft, inaccurate information, or another disqualified individual having the same name and date of birth as you. Unfortunately, the Registry does not work on the honor system and it will be up to you to prove that the block is invalid.
If the NDR block is valid, you must work with the state where the block has originated to satisfy whatever outstanding obligations that you have in that state so that you can reinstate your right to operate there. There is nothing that the Massachusetts RMV can do for you until your record is clear in the NDR and the hold is removed by the motor vehicle agency that initiated it. You can usually remove an NDR block by completing the required alcohol or drug education programs, paying any outstanding fines and/or fees, producing an SR-22 insurance certificate, or simply serving the suspension time required.
Having the NDR hold removed does not mean that your license or right to operate in Massachusetts will be automatically reinstated. If you committed an out of state motor vehicle violation, such as DUI, while you were a Mass. resident or held a Mass. License, the RMV will impose a new suspension in addition to whatever suspension was imposed in the state where the violation occurred. This is because the RMV is required to treat out of state violations as if they had happened here in Massachusetts, for license suspension purposes. If this happens to you, it may be possible to get the suspension reduced or get a hardship license. However, this can only be done after the National Driver Register Indefinite Suspension has been cleared. Contact a lawyer for more information.