The Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance has the legal and statutory authority to grant hardship relief to individuals who live out of state and have lost their driving privileges in Massachusetts for DUI, habitual traffic offender, license fraud, or a variety of other reasons.
Because these individuals are not Massachusetts residents, they are not eligible to be granted Massachusetts driver’s licenses. However, when the Board of Appeal grants these non-residents hardship relief, they are free to apply for driver’s licenses in their home states. Prior to applying for out of state licenses, they must reinstate with the Massachusetts RMV.
Prior to the implementation of the Registry’s new computer system, this was a simple process. The Board would issue a Finding and Order granting the Appellant hardship driving privileges and the Appellant would present that Board of Appeal Order to a Registry Hearing Officer to complete the Massachusetts reinstatement process. This includes the payment of the required reinstatement fee(s) and satisfaction of any applicable ignition interlock device requirements. No written or road test is required, because the Appellant is not seeking a Massachusetts license.
Unfortunately, for non-residents who have lost their rights to operate in Massachusetts, the Registry has implemented a new computer system called “Atlas.” This new system has been programmed to automatically block anyone who has a hardship restriction. The block is sent to the National Driver Register (NDR), which is a nationwide database used by all state motor vehicle departments to determine if an applicant is eligible to be issued a license.
Now, because of “Atlas,” even when the Board of Appeal orders a reinstatement on the basis of hardship, the driver’s record will be blocked in the NDR. This block will prevent him or her from being granted a license outside of Massachusetts. Being a non-resident, the driver cannot be issued a Mass. License.
The Registry has refused to correct this situation even when the Board of Appeal has clearly and explicitly ordered the Registry of Motor Vehicles (MassDOT) to “remove NDR block.” Claiming that the computer cannot be re-programmed, which is ridiculous, the Registry has repeatedly ignored these orders. I am working diligently to resolve this issue, which will likely result in Superior Court litigation to enforce the legal orders issued by the Board of Appeal.
If you have a Board of Appeal order which the Registry is ignoring, please contact me. I am hoping that this matter will be resolved in the near future and MassDOT will reprogram its computer to remove these NDR blocks.