A clean driving record is a driving record with no moving violations, accidents, driving-related convictions or points from the past 3-7 years. The length of time that drivers need to have a clean driving record depends on the state, the type of violation, and the purpose of the record check. For instance, many insurance companies only look back three years, whereas certain employers may disqualify candidates with a DUI from seven years ago.
Insurance companies and employers are more forgiving of smaller violations like speeding tickets. As a result, one speeding ticket over a three year period will have a smaller impact on your insurance premium than multiple infractions or a serious conviction like a DUI.
What Does a Clean Driving Record Mean for You?
Having a clean driving record will help you pay lower rates for car insurance, since your driving history is one of the main things insurers take into account when calculating your premium. Your insurance rate is based on how likely insurance companies think you are to file a claim and cost them money, so a clean driving record suggests that you are a safe driver and therefore less likely to get into an accident.
In addition, a clean driving record keeps you on good terms with your state’s DMV, since states suspend or revoke the licenses of drivers with severe or repeated offenses. For instance, states like Rhode Island and Washington automatically suspend the licenses of those convicted of a DUI. Finally, a clean driving record is also useful if you are applying for a job that requires driving in a professional capacity.
How to See If You Have a Clean Driving Record
Driving records are available via state DMVs in the form of a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), which insurance companies access when you get a quote or renew your policy. If you’ve recently gotten a ticket, been in an accident, or had your insurance rates increase, it might be worth checking your own MVR for errors and to see how long your offenses will continue to affect you. Most state DMVs allow you to request your own MVR on their website for a small fee.
Tips for Keeping – or Getting – a Clean Driving Record
If you already have a clean driving record, ensuring it stays that way will prevent your premiums from rising. In certain states, you can remove tickets or points from your record by attending traffic school for an eligible offense. Sometimes, you can even take a driving class to prevent insurance companies from ever seeing a ticket or violation.
Cleaning up your record using traffic school is also a good way to prevent more serious consequences in the future, like having your license suspended. Plus, for certain insurers and states, points or tickets can disqualify you from a good driver discount, so taking traffic school to erase points might allow you to keep or get this discount, too.
Finally, if you don’t have a clean driving record, keeping track of when offenses fall off your record and getting new quotes for insurance after your record improves can help you save on auto insurance coverage.
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