Before the interstate highway system was in place, people traveling from state to state had limited options. They most often involved trains or treacherous muddy, bumpy roads. Now travelers can crisscross the country with ease, as long as they obey traffic laws and drive safely. But do speeding tickets you pick up in one state travel, too?
National Databases for Drivers' Records
Information about your driving record will follow you in different places in different ways. There are three major databases which contain information about driving records:
- The National Driver Register (NDR), also known as the Problem Driver Pointer System,
- The Driver License Compact (DLC), and
- The Non-Resident Violator Compact (NRVC)
You don't want your name to show up on the NDR, which is essentially a blacklist of notoriously bad drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration started that list about ten years ago. It keeps track of commercial truck drivers, who have "CDL" licenses, as well as regular drivers.
The NDR lists drivers whose licenses have been revoked or suspended, or have been convicted of serious traffic offenses such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Every state in the nation is required to check the NDR before issuing a driver's license.
Each State Has Its Own Rules
How do other states know where you've been, and where you've gotten traffic tickets? The DLC and the NRVC are agreements in place between many states. Soon, those two agreements could be replaced by a uniform state-to-state agreement, the Driver License Agreement (DLA). Currently, only three states are members of the DLA, Connecticut, Arkansas and Massachusetts.
These three agreements have been created by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), a nonprofit organization for vehicle licensing highway safety. Their goal is to make traffic laws and punishments more uniform from state to state.
If you live in Illinois, but get a traffic ticket in Indiana while visiting there, the Illinois Secretary of State's office will add points onto your Illinois driver's license.
If Indiana has suspended your privileges to drive there, then Illinois will suspend your license to drive in Illinois, under the DLC. The NDR requires Illinois to withhold your driving privileges until you've taken care of the Indiana ticket. The NRVC falls in between these two requirements.
Not every state is a member of the DLC or NVRC. How states handle traffic violations, and which violations they consider, differ widely. For example, Kansas, Wyoming, Minnesota, Arizona, Iowa, and South Dakota won't record your speeding ticket from another state unless it's ten or more miles per hour over the speed limit.
And under the DLC or NVRC, but not under the DLA, if a certain traffic offense in Georgia isn't an offense in your home state, then your home state's driver's license won't be affected.
Your Record Can Follow You
In the old days, before electronic technology was around, drivers had a window of time when their own state wouldn't yet know about a traffic ticket they got in another state. That has changed dramatically, and information is available from state to state nearly instantaneously.
As our planet seems to grow smaller, the reach of the DLA stretches father. The AAMVA is now pushing to have the DLA cover countries beyond the US, Canada and Mexico. One concerning aspect of the DLA is it requires all member states to make all information available to all states, and this will include your confidential data such as Social Security numbers. The only ways to keep your license clean is to follow local traffic laws, and not be pain if you do get stopped by the police.
Questions for Your Attorney
- If I get a ticket in Minnesota, but live in Illnois can I go to Minnesota to defend the ticket?
- I've heard that in some states there's a right to speed. At what point will I get a ticket in those states'?
- If I get points on my record, do I automatically get high insurance rates?