Your driving record plays a key role in how much you’ll pay for insurance and your overall coverage. That’s why it’s important to check your driving record every year, especially after an accident or penalty. By understanding what’s on your record, you can take steps to improve it and save on your car insurance premiums.
Fortunately, checking if your driving record is clean is easy, inexpensive, and a simple process to complete, both online and through DMV offices. Read on to explore the ways to check how many points are on your driving record.
How to Look Up Your Driving Record
The first step to look up your driving record is to visit your state’s DMV website. Make sure that the web address ends in .gov, which ensures that it’s an official government website. On the DMV webpage, find the form where you can request a copy and fill in your identifying information, including your driver’s license, social security number, the address where your car is registered to, and other details.
Chances are, you’ll need to pay a small fee to obtain your record — usually under $25, which varies from state to state. Once you pay, you’ll receive an official copy of your driving record in the mail in a few days. In some cases, such as for lifetime driving records, you can immediately download a PDF copy of your driving record.
Requesting a driving record online is available in every state, but your local DMV office can also process your requests. You will need to fill out a form to request a driving record, show proof of insurance, and pay the fee.
Types of Driving Records
There are three primary types of driving records, and each may be necessary at different times (applying for an advanced license, for example, or any court or legal proceedings). The three DMV-issued driving records are:
- Standard driving record: This will display all the driving information found in public records and required by the DMV and insurance companies. It will include any license suspensions, traffic convictions, and accidents, as well as any instances of driving under the influence. This information will be removed from your driving record after a few years, with more serious convictions lasting for up to 15 years.
- Lifetime driving record: This will include all the driving records in your name, from when you were first licensed, and will show everything that has ever appeared on your driving record. Unlike a standard driving record, there are no time limits to when a record disappears.
- Commercial (CDL) driving record: A CDL record shows driver history information that covers your history of driving in any state, and in any vehicle that has ever been in your name. It will also include medical certifications and expirations. As the most comprehensive form of driving record, this is vital for anyone aiming to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Employers can also request CDL records for their employees and new hires.
Improving Your Current Driving Record
If you have any past accidents, license suspensions, or revocations on your driving record, don’t despair — if your driver’s license is currently in good standing, even with a bad driving record, these entries will expire after a certain number of years.
Most accidents will stay on your driving record until the end of the year that they happened, License suspensions can remain for 4-5 years. Driving under the influence can stay on your record for 10+ years, as this is considered a serious offense. And more serious violations can permanently remain on your record.
These timeframes vary from state to state, of course, so be sure to check with your DMV’s website or local office on the exact time they’ll disappear.
Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Driving Record
Your car insurance company will base the rates that you pay on your driving record, so understandably, any past dings or convictions may require you to pay more. But there are steps you can take to improving your driving record without waiting it out.
Consider taking a traffic safety course, which upon completion can credit you with discounts or good driver rewards. Register for gadgets that can monitor your driving behavior and ensure that you’re within traffic and legal limits. Lastly, the best way to maintain a good driving record is to take care when you’re on the road, pay attention to your surroundings, and be a safe driver!
If you’re looking for an insurance plan that matches your driving record, The General has several discounts you might qualify for! Get a quote in under two minutes to see how much you can save or speak with an agent to get all your questions answered.