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National Driver Register Checks

Sometimes there is driving information that is not on your DAC Report and not on your driving record and not on your Infraction/Misdemeanor/Felony Record Scan. This information can still trip you up and expand your (and your employer’s) vocabulary for a few days.

I had to laugh the other day when I saw a company state on their site that they would get drivers their National Driver Register—and then define this as “list of carriers who have requested your report.”

The National Driver Register (NDR) is a computerized database of information about drivers who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, or who have been convicted of serious traffic violations such as driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. It functions under the control of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the Department of Transportation. The following example explains why an NDR can matter. (If you want to skip the “why” details, you might want to review the last two paragraphs on the “how to get” details.)

I received a call from Lisa Cherry, head of safety for a carrier out of Gretna, Nebraska. She had a driver licensed out of Ohio. The driver had been with the company for a few years and his CDL had been renewed in 2008. Unbeknownst to her, and forgotten by the driver, was the fact that in 1997 the driver had been issued two speeding tickets in New York in 1997 and one ticket in Massachusetts in 1998. The driver had not paid the tickets.  New York and Massachusetts could not suspend the Ohio license—but they could report that the license was disqualified in their states, which they did. And there the issue sat, missed by Ohio upon renewal of the driver’s CDL.

The driver was pulled over at a scale house in Illinois. Illinois checked the CDL through the Law Enforcement Activity Data System which is also connected with the Problem Driver Pointer system which is used to search the National Driver Register (NDR) index. And here the decade-old issue reared up and bit both the driver and employer. The driver was put out of service—under load. The truck was towed to a truck stop at a cost of $450. The company had to dispatch another driver to pick up the load. The offending driver had to sit around for 5 days waiting for the clearance letters from New York and Massachusetts.  Massachusetts took a credit card payment but the fines to New York had to be paid by cash or check (no credit cards or on-line payments accepted).  The company sent the payment overnight and once New York processed the payment they issued a clearance letter.  The employer faxed the clearance letters to the driver so he could drive.  Needless to say, the driver lost 5 days of work, spent money he didn’t have at the truck stop waiting for the clearance letters, he also had to reimburse the company $450, and pay over $1,500 for the tickets and penalties.  Not to mention, the employer wasn’t happy with their SafeStat number being affected by this out-of-service for driving a CMV while disqualified.

Obviously, this is not the way the system, with its interrelated federal and state agencies was supposed to work. State motor vehicle agencies are supposed to provide the NDR with the names of individuals who have lost their privilege or who have been convicted of a serious traffic violation. The Courts will also report to the NDR if your license has been revoked or suspended if you are in arrears on child support payments, which in some states can be a Felony or Misdemeanor.  When that person applies for a driver's license, the state is supposed to check to see if the name is on the NDR file. If a person has been reported to the NDR as a problem driver, the license may be denied and the State will provide the contact information to the driver.  If something happens after your license has been issued, the only obligation the State has is to send a letter to the last known address on file.  If you don’t notify the state your address has changed, the state is not obligated to search you out and tell you the license has been disqualified, revoked, suspended, cancelled, or that you have lost your privilege.

But as there are times when it doesn’t work as in the example above, it doesn’t hurt for drivers to check their own status with the National Driver Register.

You are entitled, under the provisions of the Privacy Act, to request a file search to see if you have a record in the NDR. It's not exactly easy to get. You must download the Individual request form, complete it, have it notarized, and mail it to the NDR. (They do not accept faxed requests.) You can also take the completed form to your local motor vehicle agency and, for a small fee, they will send your request to NDR. In either case, NDR will send a response directly to you. You may get the form to download on the web at:
If you are registered with an NDR check comes with the basic service along with your driving record, DAC Report (Employment and other info), Infraction/Misdemeanor/Felony Record Scan and SSN/Identity Authentication Information. Be sure to include the NDR with your AppPak. I know of several companies that will put you on the hiring fast track if you have it.

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