How to Get a Copy of Your Driving Record
Last Updated on February 17, 2021
Your driving record impacts your life in multiple ways. Many drivers find it useful to get a copy of their driving record.
Getting a copy of your driving record is easy, and it explains important information. Your driving record includes accidents and tickets. After obtaining your driving record, you could get more accurate car insurance quotes.
Ready to get a copy of your driving record? Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about obtaining a copy of your driving record.
Contact Your State DMV
The easiest way to obtain a copy of your driving record is to go to the source: your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the equivalent organization.
You can visit the DMV online or in-person to obtain a copy of your driving record.
The DMV tracks driver’s license data for all drivers in the state. It tracks the tickets you accrue, the accidents you cause, the insurance you carry, and other information. Insurers often contact the DMV when calculating car insurance premiums. They pull your driving record, then use this data to calculate premiums.
The DMV may require proof of identity before providing you with your driving record. Some offices charge a small fee (typically under $10).
Some DMVs allow you to immediately view your motor vehicle report (MVR) online. Others mail a copy to your address. Some states require you to visit the DMV in person to obtain a copy, while others allow you to request a copy online.
How to Obtain Your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
In most states and with most drivers, you can complete the following steps to obtain your motor vehicle report (MVR):
Step 1) Visit the DMV online or in-person.
Step 2) Request a copy of your motor vehicle report (MV).
Step 3) Provide proof of identity (say, using your driver’s license).
Step 4) Receive a copy of your MVR online or in the mail.
The specific steps vary from state to state. Most states now have an online system that makes it easy to request a copy of your driving record.
In California, for example, drivers can complete an online driver record request at DMV.ca.gov. Drivers can also file a vehicle record request online to view data for that specific vehicle. California charges a $5 fee for in-person or mail requests, although it’s free to request your record online. You can request your own driving record by providing your driver’s license. Or, you can request someone else’s record by completing a Request for Record Information form (INF 70).
Alternatively, California lets you request a copy by mail or in-person at the DMV. If requesting your own driving report, you will receive a copy immediately. If requesting someone else’s record, then it takes a few days to approve the request, and you’ll then receive a copy by mail.
What’s In My Driving Record?
Different states track different parts of your driving record. The specific information in your MVR will vary from state to state, but it generally includes all of the following:
- All of your moving violations, including speeding tickets, reckless driving citations, and other violations
- All reported accidents, including at-fault accidents and accident reports
- At least three years of driving history
- The status of your driver’s license, including any suspensions or revocations of your license
- The class of your driver’s license
- Any restrictions or endorsements on your driver’s license
- Driver’s license points (for states with a point system)
Depending on your state, your MVR could also include demographic data. Some MVRs include your age, address, birthdate, gender, eye color, hair color, weight, and height, for example.
How Far Back Do Insurers Look?
When applying for car insurance, insurers use your driving history to calculate rates. Drivers with a clean history will pay less for car insurance than drivers with a history of accidents or speeding tickets.
Insurers check different timeframes, depending on state laws and company policies.
Some insurers check 5 to 7 years of accident history, for example, to verify you have a clean record. Others just check the last 3 years.
State laws play a role. Each state has different laws regarding how long accidents stay on your record. Some states allow DUIs to remain on your MVR for life, for example, while other states allow all incidents to disappear after just 5 years.
Ultimately, you should expect insures to consider at least 3 to 5 years of your driving history when you request a quote.
Is My MVR Part of the Public Record?
When data is part of the public record, it means anyone can access it.
Many arrest records are part of the public record, for example, which means you’re freely allowed to look up the arrest records of people you know (unless you’re using this information for illegal purposes).
Your motor vehicle report (MV) is not technically part of the public record.
However, state laws allow government agencies, law enforcement officials, insurers, lawyers, businesses, and others to access your MVR.
That’s why an employer can request a copy of your driving record. If driving is part of your job, then your employer can legally request your MVR as part of the application.
Similarly, insurers can use your driving record to calculate premiums.
States have different rules regarding how people can access your MVR and which information is disclosed in the report.
Advantages of Checking your Driving Record
It’s never a bad idea to check government records for yourself. You can spot inaccuracies, learn why you’re paying high insurance premiums, or get peace of mind, among other advantages.
Some of the reasons drivers check their driving record regularly include:
Correct Inaccuracies: Some driving records contain inaccuracies. Maybe someone used your identity fraudulently after an accident, for example. Maybe there was a paperwork error. Maybe the same incident was reported twice. By checking your driving record, you can verify inconsistencies and correct inaccuracies.
Expunge Records: You may be able to expunge items from your record. Some states allow you to wipe items from your record by paying a fee, for example. Other states allow you to pay to remove points from your record.
Get Peace of Mind: It’s good to know what others know about you. Pulling your driving record gives you peace of mind. It helps you feel like you’re in control of your future.
Discover What Insurers Know About You: Curious about why your insurance rates have increased? Wondering why insurers keep giving higher-than-expected estimates? Your motor vehicle report tells you what insurers see when they pull your record.
Other Ways to Obtain a Motor Vehicle Report
The best way to get a copy of your driving record is to contact the DMV and obtain it online or in-person.
However, you can also obtain your driving record through auto insurance agents, online third-party websites, and other sources:
The DMV: The DMV is the best way to obtain your motor vehicle report. The DMV stores records for all drivers across the United States. You can request your MVR online, by mail, or in-person.
Auto Insurance Agents: Your insurance agent may have access to your driving record. Typically, your insurer provides an unofficial driving report. This report is similar to the one provided by the DMV, but it may not be up-to-date. Some insurance companies also provide a free copy of your driver record in exchange for a small fee.
Online Third-Party Vendors: If you search for driving record-related terms online, you’ll find plenty of websites willing to charge high fees to pull your driving record. These companies all work in the same way: they contact the DMV and pull your record. Some are convenient, but the DMV is still the best and cheapest option for getting a copy of your driving record.
Final Word on Getting a Copy of Your Driving Record
Getting a copy of your driving record is easy.
Visit your DMV online or in-person, then request a copy of your record. You must provide proof of identity (like a driver’s license), but you can quickly view all accidents, tickets, and other incidents via your motor vehicle report (MVR).