How to Read Your Driving Record
Your driving record (also called a motor vehicle report, or MVR) contains a wealth of information about your driving history ranging from personally identifying information to specific driving convictions.
We've compiled a general guideline to give you an idea of what to expect.
NOTE: Many states provide information on how to read your state-specific driving record—our guide is only meant to provide general information.
Common Driving Record Information
Many states provide the following types of information on your driver's license check.
Where the Report Originates
Your driving record will include the state from which the report comes, as well as the state's driver license agency's name, address, and often the contact information.
Personal Identification Info
Expect to find various types of personal identification information, such as your:
- Full name and address.
- Date of birth.
- Personal appearance, including:
- Height and weight.
- Hair and eye color.
Basic Driver's License Information
Your driving record will include the same kinds of basic license information everyone possesses, such as the driver's license:
- Type, class, and restrictions.
- Status (i.e. valid, suspended, revoked, or canceled).
- Issuance and expiration dates.
A driver license check for a commercial driver license (CDL) also includes:
- A medical certificate expiry.
Driver's License Points
Keeping tabs on the number of points on your driver's license is crucial, because once you accrue a certain number of points, your car insurance rates could go up and, depending on the number, the state will suspend your driving privileges.
Refer to our DMV Point System guide to find out if your state uses a points system and, if so, how many points you can accumulate before your license is suspended.
Given the consequences of driving record points—such as license suspension—knowing how many points you have is important.
However, we're getting down to the nitty-gritty when it comes to driving convictions.
The most common information you can find about your driving convictions include the:
- Citation number.
- Citation and conviction dates.
- Violation code and offense type.
Admittedly, some states aren't too clear when they list information about driving convictions. For example, you might see numbers and letters alongside the driving conviction information that don't make sense to you. These codes are specific to the state, so at this point it's best to contact your driver license agency for assistance.
Why Driver History Matters
Your driver history matters for a couple of reasons.
First, you need to keep tabs on your information—specifically your driver record points—to prevent license suspension. Also, sometimes driver license agencies aren't quick to keep your information up to date. For example, the agency might fail to remove points or basic traffic violations from your record once the expiration period hits. Keep up with your record to make sure all information is accurate.
Second, a number of other people or entities can access your driving record. Such people and businesses include law enforcement officers, potential employers, and car insurance providers. Of course, accessing your report can depend on your state's laws, but the information on your record could cause a world of problems—especially if it's not up to date.
For example, if your information is out of date:
- A police officer might think your license is still suspended.
- A potential employer might not hire you because of traffic violations that are actually past their expiration period.
- A car insurance provider might offer you high rates or even deny you coverage.
Thus, it's important to periodically run a driver's license check.