Location:
TRAFFIC REGULATIONS; TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


April 19, 2013

 

2013-R-0191

DRIVING HISTORY RECORD RETENTION

By: Paul Frisman, Principal Analyst

You asked which motor vehicle violations the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records on driver histories and how long DMV retains this information. You also asked for the penalties associated with the violations.

SUMMARY

DMV's driver history retention schedule (Attachment 1) lists about 800 separate violations that it records on driver histories. Many of these are very specific violations that fall under a single statute. For example, there are 35 separate violations listed under the law dealing with federal motor carrier safety regulations, and 19 violations under the driver's license law.

DMV retains records of most infractions and violations for three years. It retains records of more serious violations for 10 years, and of violations committed by commercial driver's license (CDL) holders (e.g., truck drivers) for periods of time specified in federal law, which range from three to 55 years, depending on the violation.

INFRACTIONS

DMV retains records of motor vehicle infractions for three years. Motor vehicle infractions are punishable by fines of between $50 and $90 (CGS 51-164m(c)(2)). An infraction is not a crime; violators can pay the fine by mail without appearing in court. Violators also must pay a surcharge and may pay an additional fee based on the amount of the fine. The specific amount of each motor vehicle infraction is available on the Judicial Branch's website at: http://jud.ct.gov/Publications/Infractions/infractions.pdf.

Examples of infractions, and their associated fines, include:

1. failing to move over for an emergency vehicle, $181, (CGS 14-283b);

2. driving or parking a motor vehicle on a sidewalk, $92, (CGS 14-250a);

3. operating an unregistered motor vehicle, $117, (CGS 14-12(a));

4. idling a school bus for more than three consecutive minutes, first offense, $117, (subsequent offenses are punishable by fines of between $100 and $500) (CGS 14-277 (b)); and

5. motorcyles operating more than two abreast in a single lane, $107, (CGS 14-289b(a)).

VIOLATIONS

Violations are generally more serious than infractions. The length of time DMV retains records of violations generally depends on its severity. It retains the records of most violations for three years. Table 1, below, provides examples of these violations.

Table 1: Examples of Violations for which DMV Retains Records for Three Years

Violation

Penalty

Using a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving a motor vehicle

(CGS 14-296aa)

First violation, $125 fine; second violation, $250 fine; subsequent violations $400 fine.

Failing to stop for a school bus

(CGS 14-279)

First violation, $450 fine; subsequent violations, $500 - $1,000 fine, up to 30 days in prison, or both.

Negligent homicide with a motor vehicle

(CGS 14-222a)

Fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in prison, or both.

For commercial vehicle operators, a fine of up to $2,500, up to six months in prison, or both (violation remains on the driver's record for four years).

Violating handicapped parking laws

(CGS 14-253a)

First violation, $150 fine; subsequent violations, $250 (if no other penalty specified).

Reckless driving

(CGS 14-222)

First violation, $100 to $300 fine, up to 30 days in prison, or both;

subsequent violations, up to a $600 fine, up to one year in prison, or both.

DMV retains for 10 years records of other serious motor vehicle violations. Table 2, below includes examples of these, and their penalties.

Table 2: Examples of Violations for which DMV Retains Records for 10 Years

Violation

Penalty

Driving with a suspended or revoked license

(CGS 14-215)

With some exceptions, for a first violation, $150-$200 fine, up to three months in prison, or both; subsequent violations, $200 to $600 fine, up to one year in prison, or both.

Evading responsibility where a death or serious injury occurred (CGS 14-224(a))

Fine of up to $10,000, 1 to 10 years in prison, or both.

2nd degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle

(CGS 53a-56b)

Fine of up to $10,000, 1 to 10 years in prison, or both.

2nd degree assault with a motor vehicle

(CGS 53a-60d)

Fine of up to $5,000, one to five years in prison, or both.

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs

(CGS 14-227a)

Fines range from $500 to $8,000 and prison terms range from a maximum of six months to a maximum of three years, depending on the number of previous violations of this law. See attachment 2 for DUI criminal penalties.

OFFENSES COMMITTED WHILE OPERATING A COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE

Drivers must obtain a CDL when they operate certain motor vehicles (e.g., large trucks) in either intrastate or interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates CDL standards, testing, requirements, disqualifications, and penalties. The FMCSA requires that conviction records be retained for a minimum of 55 years for a major conviction, 15 years for an out-of service conviction (driving a vehicle in violation of an out-of service order), four years for serious convictions, and three years for other convictions.

Drivers operating commercial motor vehicles committing certain offenses may in some cases (e.g., negligent homicide with a motor vehicle) face stiffer penalties than drivers of non-commercial vehicles. Also, CDL holders convicted of certain violations may be disqualified from driving commercial motor vehicles for specified periods of time.

Examples of violations, and the minimum length of time the record must be retained on the driver history of CDL holders, include:

1. Operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of an out-of-service order, 15 years, (Conn. Agency Regs. 14-163c(8)(b)(1));

2. Operating while a registration or license is suspended or revoked, 55 years, (CGS 14-215):

3. Speeding, four years, (CGS 14-219(a));

4. Driving while under the influence, 55 years, (CGS 14-227a); and

5. Failing to stop at a railroad crossing, four years, (CGS 14-249 (a)).

PF:ro

Attachment 1

Attachment 2: DUI Criminal Penalties

Conviction

Prison Sentence

Fine

First

Either (1) up to six months with a mandatory minimum of two days or (2) up to six months suspended with probation requiring 100 hours of community service

$500- $1,000

Second

(Under Age 21)

Up to two years, with a mandatory minimum of 120 consecutive days and probation with 100 hours community service

$1,000- $4,000

Second

(Age 21 or older)

Up to two years, with a mandatory minimum of 120 consecutive days and probation with 100 hours community service

$1,000- $4,000

Third and Subsequent

Up to three years, with mandatory minimum of one year and probation with 100 hours community service

$2,000- $8,000