When viewing state MVRs it quickly becomes obvious that each state has unique conviction reporting language and codes inherent to their motor vehicle statutes and specific violation language. Additionally, each state has its own point system that links to suspension of driving privileges.
Since states must communicate with one another and with the National Driver Register (NDR) regarding commercial drivers, problem drivers, and out-of state actions, the question is—how do states know what the conviction codes from other states mean and how do they translate this information into their own language and code set? In short, how do they make sense of the data if there are fifty standards?
The answer is the states utilize the AAMVA Code Dictionary (ACD) as a translation table. The primary function of the ACD Codes is to enable to the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) to exchange convictions and withdrawals. Other applications use the codes, such as the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS), knowing that the ACD Codes are defined for CDLIS.
Fleet managers, safety directors, and human resources teams depend on accurate reporting of MVR data tied to ACD codes. This enables a fair evaluation of a driver’s history against a set standard within their organization. This evaluation will typically lead to refresher training and could lead to discipline or removal of driving privileges.
Because of the seriousness of this evaluation, it’s important that the process be consistent and fair.
The AAMVA periodically updates their ACD code listing to reflect changes in the traffic citation “marketplace” — for instance, “Texting While Driving” or “M85” was recently added to the dictionary of codes.
If your MVR scoring/evaluation system doesn’t tie directly to the master list of ACD codes, you may be missing or mis-classifying violations. Worse, if you depend on a person* to “interpret” violations being posted back from the states and/or provinces, how do you know that they’re being coded correctly? *(what about multiple service reps working on your account — does “Joe” interpret violations differently than “Sally”?)
Your drivers deserve every opportunity to receive training based on these codes since the codes are tied to specific behaviors. When violations are coded improperly, you may be missing opportunities to help drivers correct their habits.
On the other hand, when your MVR system is working well, you can influence the probability of preventing collisions or even getting additional violations.
This can impact your BASICs for unsafe driving and crash rates if you’re a regulated carrier, or simply boost your profitability if you’re a non-regulated fleet.
There are many providers of MVR data out there. If you’re checking MVRs to simply fulfill a policy or program statement (without considering the data quality, or without using the data to instigate corrective training), any provider will suffice. If you’re interested in helping drivers become aware of potential habits that are leading them towards collisions, then data quality and reporting are critical to success. Advanced systems that do more than deliver an MVR result may prove helpful — does your system also:
- tag and remind you proactively when licenses are about to expire?
- link driver evaluations to training systems?
- link driver’s MVR data to preventable crash history, telematics alerts, motorist observation reports or other indicators for a blended risk score?
- assist in complying with FMCSR if your fleet is regulated?
- assist in tying varied company events to a blended score?
- link data from automated enforcement agencies to your driver’s account?
- reconcile and maintain your consent forms tied to each state and each driver account?
- offer e-consent in those states which support e-consent?
If you’re interested in a system that does more than post back a data file (that may or may not be accurate), then check out E-DriverFile or give us a call at 1-888-603-6987.