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The National Driver Register (NDR) is a computerized database of information about U.S. drivers. It contains records on those who have had their licenses revoked or suspended, often for little more than misdemeanor violations (such as not returning license plates in New York state), or those who have been convicted of serious traffic violations (e.g., driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs).

State motor vehicle agencies provide NDR with the names of individuals who have lost their license or who have been convicted of a serious traffic violation. When a person applies, either as a new applicant or as a renewal, for a driver's license the state checks to see if the name is on the NDR file. If a person has been reported to the NDR as a problematic driver, the license may be denied. All 51 US jurisdictions (50 States and DC) are required by federal mandate to check the NDR before granting any driving privilege (including cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles) to anyone. This is to help prevent someone with a suspended or revoked driver's license in one jurisdiction from obtaining a driver's license in another jurisdiction as well as prevent someone from obtaining more than one driver's license at any one time.

Obtaining information

The following groups are authorized to receive information from the NDR:

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Mistaken Identity

Effects On Individual Drivers—Combined Identities

According to National Drivers Registry officials, individual drivers records posted to the NDR database by the states are made available to all states in the U.S.. Under federal law, individual states are mandated to obtain information compiled on the NDR database. Information supplied by one state to the NDR is obtained by another state from the NDR using the first four letters of the driver's first and last names, the date of birth, and, often, if it is published, that drivers social security number and/or license number.

Interviews with a half dozen Registry of Motor Vehicles branch managers reveal that this procedure has led to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of cases of complications arising from mistaken identity and the combination of two or more drivers records—where one driver is impacted by citations and court findings taken against the posted record of an entirely different driver. Senior attorneys and staff at the NDR state that the database serves only to compile and make available the data as posted by the individual states. However, the data as compiled and later retrieved and processed by the individual states often leads to the inadvertent combination of drivers record information which can lead to negative actions taken against unwitting victims.

In conversations with Department of Motor Vehicles Hearings Officers at the State of New Jersey, the State of New York, and the State of Kentucky, the adverse impact on unsuspecting victims is measurable. The compilation and transmission of mistaken drivers record information can lead to actions generated by individual Registry of Motor Vehicles, including suspensions and revocations of the licenses of innocent drivers, shouldering the affected drivers with the burden to prove their innocence. Even more chilling, citations continue to be issued and arrests continue to be made by officers in the field who have access to mistaken information posted on State databases combining the actions taken against an entirely different driver with that of an innocent driver—leaving the victimized driver with the burden to prove their innocence...following the citation and/or arrest. State Hearings Officers point to flaws in the design of information systems software that fails to provide them with a means of "flagging" even those cases repeatedly brought to their attention. Such conclusions do little to remedy the issuance of baseless citations, and the false arrests that continue to arise from this failure of records-keeping.

Indeed, one such case has been recurring regularly for in excess of twelve years. This has caused the affected driver to be forced to spend thousands of hours obtaining information from three distinct State agencies and the NDR in order to re-prove his innocence in an effort to establish himself as a separate person from that of another driver with a very similar name and date of birth.

To date, as a direct result of the routinely repeated (for over twelve years) combination and merging of drivers record information provided to the individual states by the NDR, said driver has incurred multiple thousands of dollars in fees, fines, mailing costs, and lawyers fees to defend his innocence in court, and in his efforts to reinstate his license to drive. According to one senior NDR attorney interviewed, until State databases can be designed to make said drivers record distinct from that of other drivers, and, until said driver is willing "change(s) his name legally in court" this problem is destined to persist "for the remainder of (said drivers) natural life."[citation needed]


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