More Joint Training
Joanne Thomka, director of National Traffic Law Center at the National District Attorneys Association
The most important issue that both the courts and DMVs work on together is making sure we’re keeping one driver, with one license, with one record. We need to be communicating what actually happens on the administrative path from citation to conviction to recording that information, making sure we are completely aware of a driver’s history. Is he a reckless driver? Is she relatively safe? These things need to be known for both the DMVs and courts to be able to make decisions for the safety of everyone on the roads.
It’s incredibly important for the employees at DMVs and the court clerks to have a healthy working relationship. Forming a bond with someone in a similar field only adds to the trust and respect you have for that individual. In order to be successful, we need to be developing more joint training sessions. They can even be regionally organized so that people in one community develop close-knit relationships. For employees on one side to be able to recognize if there is a problem—and how it should be handled—goes a long way to increasing efficiency when dealing with clerical errors.
Coupled with this idea of increased training is ensuring all agencies involved have technological tools that are functional. It’s hard when the court system has one version of software, the DMV has another, the prosecutor’s office has a third and law enforcement has a fourth. If the funds aren’t there to support a unified system, it makes communication all that more difficult, and makes transcription errors that much more common.
Errors in recording are magnified when dealing with commercial driver licensing (CDL). If we are not properly communicating and recording infractions, citations and convictions along the way, we’re potentially letting an unsafe driver operate an 80,000-pound missile on our highways, endangering multitudes of people.
If any jurisdiction or judiciary members believe that their departments can use help with these types of essential partnerships, we at the National Traffic Law Center provide training and technical assistance for law enforcement, prosecutors, members of the judiciary and other motor vehicle partners on all aspects of traffic safety. We’re here to offer support and help to anyone in the industry to make sure things are done right. For more information, please visit ndaa.org/programs/ntlc.