To check your driver’s license history, you need to go through your local DMV or state driver’s licensing office. Checking your driving record can be useful if you want to check for possible errors and find out exactly what points or violations are on your license.
Your driver’s license history includes the status of your license, driving points, citations, convictions, and traffic accidents. The best ways to improve your driving record are taking a defensive driving class, practicing good habits, and fixing citation errors by contacting the state DMV.
How to Check Your Driving Record
- Visit your state’s DMV website to view your driving history online.
- Request a copy of your driving record in the mail.
- Go to your local DMV office.
How to Check Your Driving Record
The easiest and fastest way to check your driving record is through your local DMV or state driver’s licensing office. Many states make driving records available online, but if you need an official record for court or employment, you’ll generally have to order one through the mail or request it in person.
Costs range from $2 to $25 for official copies of your driving record. Avoid third-party sources of your driving record that charge more than your DMV will charge.
4 Steps to Check Your Driving Record
- Go to your state DMV’s website.
- Provide your personal information in the required fields.
- Pay any requested fees.
- If your record is unavailable online, follow the instructions to request an official copy in person or through the mail.
How to Check Your Driver’s License, by State
What Does Your Driving Record Include?
- Driver’s license status
- License classifications and endorsements
- Driving points
- DUI/DWI convictions
- Fees and citations owed
- Expiration date of license
- Traffic accidents
- Moving violation convictions and fines
- Safe and defensive driving courses attended
Driving records, also known as MVRs (motor vehicle reports) and driving abstracts, can be a factor in background checks, employment decisions, and court proceedings. Insurance companies also look to them to evaluate your driving habits. So it’s important for you to know what’s on your own record.
State privacy laws protect this information. In most cases, anyone who wants to view your data must first receive your permission. If someone like a potential employer wants a copy of your driving record, you must provide written permission with your signature.
In the case of an insurance company, there is an “implied need” that doesn’t require written permission. However, the insurer agrees to keep the information private and to only use the information for business purposes.
As you research your driving record and points, remember that there are other reports available to you that insurance companies refer to when pricing insurance:
- CLUE Report – a summary of your car insurance claims history.
- Insurance Score – based on your credit history and tailored to the needs of the insurance industry.
How to Improve Your Driving Record: 3 Tips
All is not lost if you’re on the verge of losing your license or having your insurance rates skyrocket due to traffic citations. There are things you can do to begin cleaning up your driving history.
1. Fix any errors on your driving record
After requesting a copy of your driving record, review your personal information and your citations to make sure there are no errors. If you do find incorrect information, you can request a review from your state DMV. In some cases, you may need to schedule a hearing to dispute information on your record.
2. Take a driver-safety class
Many states will permit you to take a class from a certified organization to remove points from your record. In general there are two types of classes you can take depending on your state's system: classes that eliminate a single citation and classes that can improve your driving record.
To eliminate a single citation, some states like Wisconsin allow you to take a traffic safety course within a few weeks of the ticket if you have not taken the course in the previous year. The course will prevent the incident from adding points to your driving record or affecting your insurance rates.
Other states, like New York, allow you to improve your record overall by taking an accident prevention course. You can take the class once every three years even if you don’t have recent violations. After completing the course, up to four points will be removed from your record, and your insurance rates will be reduced by 10% for three years.
3. Work toward being a safer driver
Although points won’t completely disappear from your driving record, they’ll only be counted for a certain period of time. In the meantime, you can practice safe driving habits to avoid getting tickets altogether, or drive less overall to reduce the possibility of being cited.
As old violations stop getting counted, it pays to shop around for car insurance, since you may qualify for lower rates as your record gets cleaner.