NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #22

The Driver License Compact

A few issues back I described the Non-resident Compact and in the process said I would follow up with a description of the Driver License Compact.

The Driver License Compact is an agreement between participating states to exchange violation information for their respective residents. This is the program where a state that issues a citation to a non-resident will notify that non-resident’s home state DMV of the violation. I should add that this only occurs if the charged motorist pleads guilty or is found guilty.

The motorist’s home state than applies points that correspond with a similar violation in that state. Almost all states belong to this Compact, but they are not uniform in their reporting procedures. Some states are more rigorous in reporting violations than are others. While more serious violations, like DUI, will always find their way back to the home state DMV, that is not always the case with minor traffic violations.

Many communities have come to understand that non-residents find it impractical if not impossible to return for a trial, which makes them a high priority target. These same local operatives know that ticket recipients are most concerned about points being assigned to their driving record. Add in the factor that local units of government can enforce their own ordinances, in place of state laws, and you have the perfect brew.

The standard procedure is to enforce a local ordinance, or offer it as an alternative to being charged with a violation of state law, where the local ordinance does not involve points. Some of the more brazen jurisdictions actually charge a higher fine for this option. The motorist pays the fine, no points are assigned and the violation is not reported to the state where the violation occurred. The local unit of government keeps ALL the fine money and does not share it with the state. Because the state DMV is unaware of the violation it cannot report it to the motorist’s home state DMV. Thus, no points are assigned to the motorist’s driving record.

Keep in mind, this is being done to improve highway safety.

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