A driving record can sometimes also be referred to as motor vehicle reports—or an MVR— and also a drivers abstract. Sometimes, it may be called a DMV driving record. Whether it’s referred to as DMV records, simply a driving record, a motor vehicle report (MVR report) or driver abstract depends on the state in which you reside.
No matter the way your state chooses to say it, they all refer to the same document. So, what is a driving record?
A driving record is a document that shows a person’s driving history. It will document all violations, issuance of a license, accidents, and more. However, there are different types of driving records, and the one you request from your state’s DMV depends on why you need it.
Types of Driving Records
Depending on which state you live in, and the purpose for which you need to request a driving record, will indicate the types of driving records that are available to you.
Driving history abstracts are driving records that are oftentimes ordered by courts, law enforcement, lawyers, insurance companies, or sometimes employers. This is a basic, full report of your driving history, including any accidents, violations, suspensions, or license actions, such as receiving a new one after it expired, requesting a new one if yours was lost or stolen, etc.
You can easily request this type of driving record online from any state DMV website. When the document is requested, the DMV will run a driving record check and then send you your driving record.
Uncertified Driving Records are typically ordered by a person for their own personal use. It’s a basic report of your driving history that can be easily ordered online in any state when a person wishes to check on their documentation and see if their record is up to date in their state’s DMV system.
Certified Driving Records are verified by the state’s motor vehicle department, or DMV. Any driving record that is the product of a driving record check by your state’s DMV and has been signed off as official from the DMV is certified. So, if you are requesting a driving record for the purposes of a lawyer, insurance, or law enforcement, the record is likely going to need to be a certified one.
Driver’s License Status Records are records you can request if you want to make sure your license is active, inactive, revoked, or suspended. This type of driving record focuses on if your license is currently valid, and if all your information is up to date, such as your address, your full name, and your date of birth.
A Set-Year Record is a driving record that is not the entire history of your driving, but a record pertaining only to a specific time period. Depending on which state you live in, you can order a three-year driving record for whichever three subsequent years you need to see, or a 7-year driving record.
A good example is if you want to review only recent incidents on your driving record, and you live in Florida, you can request a three-year driving record instead of your entire history.
On the other hand, Complete Driving Records are the records with your full history, from the moment you get your license until the present day.
What Is In A Driving Record?
Your driving record will contain all pertinent information to you as a driver. It will display basic information such as:
- Your driving status, I.e. active or suspended
- License history
- License number
- Your full legal name
- Date of Birth
- Driver’s license classification, expiration date, endorsements, and more.
It will also contain a history of yourself as a driver, including information about:
- Any citations, fees, or fines,
- Lapses in vehicle registration,
- DMV license points added to your license,
- Restrictions placed on the license,
- Removal of restrictions placed on the license,
- Moving violations,
- DUI or DWI convictions,
- Traffic school, and
- Defensive driving courses.
How To Order A Driving Report
To get a certified copy of your driving record, the process is very similar in all states and U.S. territories.
By going to your state DMV website, you can typically order an uncertified driving record online, but sometimes, if you need a certified driving report, you may need to order it in person at your nearest DMV location, or you can print the request form online from your state website, and mail it so you don’t have to wait in long lines.
For example, if you live in California, you cannot order a certified and comprehensive driving report online. You would have to go to your local DMV location, fill out and submit a INF1125 Form, and pay $5. You can, however, find the INF1125 document online, so you can print it out and fill it out at home, and then either bring it to your nearest DMV location, or mail it to the address listed on the document.
In states such as Florida, you can view the current status of your driver license online
for free on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. You can then also purchase and order a complete and certified driving report by printing the form out online and mailing it to the address on the form.
How To Clean Your Driving Record
A clean driving record is a report that is free of any points, violations, or accidents.
Having a clean driving record can help you save money. Oftentimes, insurers will offer lower insurance rates to those with clean records. Also, if your driving record continues to build up violations and tickets, drivers can get their licenses suspended or even revoked.
By requesting an uncertified MVR check, you can look into your record and see if your record is clean or not. So, how to you make sure your driving record stays clean, even if you have violations?
Waiting It Out
It’s good to know that in most states, small traffic citations and violations will drop off your record after three to five years, depending on the state. However, serious offenses such as DUI’s may stay on your record for much longer. In some states, serious offenses stay on the record for 10 years or longer.
Also, moving out of state isn’t always a sure way to clean your record. Usually, your driving record follows you from state to state. But, you might get lucky. For example, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, and Arizona only keep speeding tickets from other states on your record if the speeding amount was 10 mph or more over the speed limit.
To know what violations can be taken off your record if you move states, check in with your new state’s DMV. If you do get a ticket or a violation, however, there are ways to make sure they stay off your record.
Requesting a Deferment or Expungement
A deferment will let you pay a fine to your state in order to keep your ticket off your driving record. For the deferment period, typically a year, if you don’t receive any new tickets or violations, and you pay the fines, the ticket or violation will be removed from your history after the year is up.
Expunging means the ticket or violation will be removed entirely from the record. In most states, after it’s been a number of years since the violation happened, you can request to have the violation removed. For example, in most states, if you have a perfectly clean record for five to seven years after you received a serious violation such as a DUI, you can request to have the DUI expunged from your record.
Attend Traffic School
Another good way to keep your record clean is by attending traffic school by taking classes. For example, defensive driving classes.
Most of these courses can be completed online or in person depending on the state, and sometimes can last from four to 12 hours.
By taking classes, you can remove points and tickets from your record depending on the state. For example, in Texas, you can remove a ticket once every twelve months by taking a defensive driving course. In other states, like California, you are only allowed to attend a class once every 18 months, and it will “mask” the ticket or violation, not completely remove it.
Contest the Ticket
Another way to make sure tickets don’t stick to your record is by contesting it. If you think the ticket was given to you unfairly, you can fight the ticket in court. Oftentimes, the police officers who gave the ticket don’t show up to the court date, meaning your ticket is expunged and your case dismissed.
By presenting the facts of your case and bringing the correct documents, the judge may choose to dismiss your ticket, even if the police officer does attend the hearing.