The purpose of a Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) hearing is to:
- Review the driver record (including factors that may have positively or negatively affected the driver’s behavior).
- Decide whether the driver should be considered a negligent operator under the point count system.
- Decide whether any action against the driving privilege is needed.
As a driver, you must be given the opportunity to produce evidence and testify in detail regarding your driver record. The hearing action must be supported by sufficient evidence.
Scope of NOTS Hearings
NOTS hearings consider:
- The correctness of your driver record.
- If you have any pending court charges, collisions, or convictions not shown on your driver record (which will not be used as the basis for an action, but may reflect whether you have a negligent pattern of driving).
- Your driver history.
- Whether your driver record shows a pattern of repeat collisions and violations.
- Whether alcohol consumption is related to major violations and collisions when indicated by the record.
- Any factors that may have impacted the driver’s actions, either negatively or positively.
- Physical and mental (P&M) conditions related to the driving record.
If a hearing request is received within the allowed timeframe and a hearing cannot be held before the effective date of the order, DMV will grant a stay. This means that DMV may not take any action against driving privilege until the hearing has been held.
P&M Denial of Stay
A stay is not granted in NOTS cases when evidence exists of a P&M condition that presents an immediate driving risk and action has been taken under California Vehicle Code (CVC) §13953.
Stay for DMV Review
When DMV review is requested within 15 days of a NOTS hearing decision and the review cannot be completed before the effective date, a stay is required under CVC §14105.5.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is the hearing officer’s responsibility to determine whether you as the driver were responsible and whether a collision could have been avoided.
In a hearing, your driving record alone is not enough to find you responsible for a collision. Other direct evidence, such as your testimony, is used to establish responsibility.
DMV is required to prove your responsibility for a collision. Proof may be established by the driver’s statements, or by reviewing the collision report. If proof establishes non-responsibility for the collision, DMV will correct the record.
The following collision details may help in determining collision responsibility:
- Road type.
- Surface condition of the road.
- Speed (before and after the collision).
- Legal speed limit.
- Traffic (heavy, medium, or light).
- Distractions (pedestrians, special event, radio, inattention).
- Weather (fog, rain, snow, clear, clouds, wind).
- Controls (signals, signs, or none).
- Collision type (multi-vehicle, fixed object, pedestrians).
- Vehicle type (car, truck, motorcycle, tractor/trailer).
- Condition of vehicle (tires, brakes, lights, signals).
- Point of impact (front, rear, side).
- Direction of travel.
- Time and day of week.
- Damages to vehicle and/or property.
- Violations (Vehicle Code, Penal Code, Health and Safety, etc.)
- Physical condition.
- If either driver appeared in court, what was the conclusion of any discussion about collision involvement?
- Reaching for something in the vehicle, eyes taken off the roadway, sun glare.
Mitigating circumstances, or issues that can lessen the degree of negligence, will be weighed against the amount and seriousness of negligence shown by your driving record and your testimony.
Plans for Improvement/Corrective Measures
At a hearing, you may offer testimony that you believe lessens the degree of negligence shown by the record. The best evidence describes the specific, reasonable steps that are taken to discourage “backsliding” (falling back into prior bad behaviors).
In some cases, you may present a mitigating circumstance such as hardship. Hardship may include situations where:
- You are a major contributor or sole provider of your family income.
- Alternative transportation is not available for significant, routine activities, such as school, medical treatments, or employment.
Physical and Mental Conditions
In some cases, your driving record may indicate a possible P&M condition related or unrelated to the negligent operation. If a P&M condition is uncovered through your testimony, and it appears to be an immediate driving hazard, your driving privileges may be immediately suspended or revoked. CVC §13953
Aggravating circumstances in a driving record or which become apparent at a hearing may be considered by the hearing officer as a reason for not reducing the action and must be balanced against any mitigation presented.
Aggravating circumstances which the hearing officer may wish to weigh include:
- Responsible collisions.
- A driving history which indicates a disregard for traffic safety.
- Major (two point) violations.
- The history or potential severity of the consequence of driving errors. For example, the driver’s responsibility for the safety of passengers or transportation of hazardous materials, which, in the event of a collision, may result in injury, death or extensive property damage due to fire or explosion.
- If the driving record contains a long history of driving violations and/or at-fault collisions, a stronger action may be required to motivate lasting change. However a driving record which indicates only a few recent violations may not indicate the need for a strong sanction.
- A driver who has attended Traffic Violator School more than once and who continues to violate traffic laws may require a more severe sanction.
- Prior negligent operator actions may indicate that a driver is unwilling or unable to drive in a reasonable and prudent manner.
- A history of multiple court appearances and court suspensions/probations for driving offenses, may indicate the driver is unlikely to respond to minimal NOTS action.
- Prior violations for driving when suspended or revoked may indicate the driver’s unwillingness to abide by the terms of restriction or suspension.
If you are a Class C or M driver and you are presumed to be a negligent operator under CVC §12810.5, DMV may issue restrictions for employment as a condition of probation, under CVC §12812.
In addition, CVC §2813 permits DMV to issue any restriction needed to ensure safe driving. Restrictions may be issued for employment and non-employment purposes.
A restriction to allow driving under limited conditions may be appropriate when evidence of hardship related to use or mileage is presented or implied.
The following factors will be considered in determining if and what type of restriction is appropriate:
- Would granting the restriction compromise traffic safety (based on factors such as the severity and pattern of the driving record, plan for improvement, and/or acceptance of traffic safety responsibility)?
- Is it consistent with the evidence of need presented?
- Can it be understood by the driver, law enforcement, and the courts?
- Can it be enforced?
- Under CVC §40508, when a driver fails to appear in court to have a traffic violation adjudicated, the court reports the violation to DMV as an FTA violation.
- An FTA is not assigned a point count because it is not a conviction; however, it may be used as supplementary evidence of negligence.
Possible decisions regarding the driving privilege at the conclusion of the hearing include:
|Sustain||Original action remains in effect.|
|Probation and Modified Suspension Period||Used following a hearing when the action is in effect.|
|Used following a hearing when a probation and suspension is modified to a probation with restriction.|
|Probation||Used to monitor the driver’s record and includes conditions of driving, such as obeying traffic laws and remaining free of collision responsibility.|
|Set Aside (Lack of Evidence)||Used when the basis for an action is not supported by DMV’s evidence.|
|Set Aside (Non-Receipt of NOTS Order)||Used when evidence exists that a driver was unaware of a NOTS action, because the initial NOTS service order was not received.|
|No Action (Driver Does Not Appear)||If a driver does not appear for a hearing and presents no information to rebut or contest the prima facie record, the driver has withdrawn his or her|
right to a hearing.
|End Action||Used to terminate a prior DMV action.|
Need something else?
Learn more about the NOTS points system and how negligence can affect your driving record.
Negligent Operator Actions
Learn about the actions DMV can take against negligent drivers.
Fatal and Serious Injury Accidents
Learn more about fatal and serious injury accidents as a result of negligent driving and the actions DMV might take as a result.