Technology Tools: Improving Data Exchange

State courts interact with state driver licensing agencies (SDLA's) in a variety of ways. The under-reporting of convictions and dispositions is common and many court convictions are never properly reported to SDLA's due to technological and policy challenges. NCSC is working with court and transportation partners in several states to assess the readiness of court and transportation systems to timely and accurately report convictions. NCSC utilizes the High Performance Court Framework to analyze existing business practices and evaluates issues related to culture, performance perspectives, and Principles for Judicial Administration that include governance, finance, case management, technology, and implementation. NCSC’s is working to provide a roadmap to improve Commercial Drivers License (CDL) conviction reporting.

The goal of updating a commercial driver’s record within 10 days of conviction is ambitious when the process is paper based from the traffic citation through a court reporting a conviction to a SDLA. Many rural counties have limited resources. Paper and manual processes dominate the rural scene and convictions take the form of paper mailed through the Postal Service to SDLA’s. Law enforcement and courts in urban areas may be favored with technology that should speed up the process. However, when stakeholders do not collaborate well, timely and accurate reporting may be problematic. Surprisingly, in some instances, the SDLA's have older technology than the courts, creating obstacles to faster, more efficient data exchange. NCSC cannot emphasize sufficiently that frequently the first point of failure is inaccurate information on the citation. Officers hand write citations without the benefit of technology that draws information about the driver from the SDLA and electronically validates information that the officer enters.

The licensing function may be a part of a larger state executive branch department. Prioritization of programs within executive branch agencies may relegate technological improvements for SDLA’s to a lower priority. Aligning state code offenses and penalties with those specified in the Code of Federal Regulations is a legislative function requiring statutory revisions. NCSC found that in one state there had been no provision on the uniform traffic citation to cite a CDL driver under the state law when the offense did not involve a commercial vehicle, for example, when a commercial driver was operating a personal vehicle. This information is critical in the citation process, subsequent prosecution and adjudication.

To achieve a thorough understanding of the obstacles in non-compliant states, more fieldwork needs to be done. States that have achieved compliance have overcome many of these obstacles, making them best practice states. The lessons learned by best practice states should be transferable to other states similarly situated. NCSC has conducted workshops involving multiple compliant and non-compliant states. States may contact NCSC to participate in a future workshop.

These business process highlights should serve as a suggestion that multiple stakeholders need to be at the table to improve conviction reporting of commercial drivers. Technology experts representing the required stakeholders business process experts at the table to solve problems involving conviction reporting of commercial drivers.

CDL Data Exchange Working Group

One goal of the commercial driving work at NCSC is to help courts improve timeliness and accuracy in reporting convictions of commercial drivers to SDLA's. NCSC formed and hosted a CDL Data Exchange Working Group in March of 2014. NCSC led working group members through a business requirement decomposition of data exchanges between stakeholders involving commercial driver convictions. The objective of this initiative is to create a reusable data exchange Reference Specification that will enable instantaneous updating of a driver's record at the DMV upon input of a conviction into the court's case management system. The effort is employing Global Reference Architecture guidelines and the Court Technology Framework in developing a data exchange solution. The CDL Data Exchange Working Group consists of SDLA, Law Enforcement, and Court stakeholders from seven states and representatives from national entities including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). More information on the Working Group can be found under States.

In March of 2015, NCSC opened a comment period for feedback on the working draft of the Court2SDLA Disposition Reporting Service Specification (see Latest News for additional information).

States interested in this project should contact: Jannet Lewis, CDL Project Manager, or telephone: 757.259.1824.