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How (and Why) to Check Your Driver's License Status

By: Nadia Ibanez June 23, 2012

Whether you're a seasoned motorist or just got your driver's license last month, mistakes - to the tune of traffic tickets and car accidents - happen.

It's okay. We're all human.

However, mistakes bring consequences, and in the driving world, consequences affect your driving privileges.

Thus, it's vital to stay on top of your license status, and you can do that by order a copy of your driving record.

Your Driving Record Has All the Scoop

Your driving record details:

  • Your license status, meaning whether you're good to go or have a suspended license.
  • Information about traffic tickets you've gotten within the past certain number of years (often three or five; some states provide 10-year histories).
  • How many, if any, points you've accumulated due to traffic tickets, auto accidents, and other driving-related violations. Based on your state's point system, you'll lose your driving privileges after accumulating a certain number of points.

Not all driving record information is negative, though. Driving records also detail your driver license class and any endorsements you have.

Who's Interested in Your License Record?

Well, lots of people. For example:

  • Insurance providers. Your current car insurance company checks your record to increase or decrease your rates based on company policy. Potential insurance companies do the same thing when determining the coverage and cost they'll offer. (HINT: Cleaner driving records earn lower car insurance rates!)
  • Potential employers. This is especially true if you're applying for a position that requires driving company vehicles and transporting, well, anything.
  • You. Did the DMV remove that ticket when you completed traffic school? How many points away from suspension are you? Checking your license status keeps you in the loop.

Order a Copy of Your Driving Record

Ordering your driving record – whether you do it online, through the state, or in some other third-party form – is one of the easiest ways to check your license status and requires some basic information.

Of course, the exact ordering process varies by state and provider.

Some states require drivers to go into their local branch and:

  • Present photo identification (your driver's license!).
  • Complete a driving record application.
  • Pay a fee.

Other states allow drivers to apply for their records by mail, by telephone, or through their state’s online branch.

Additionally, third-party driving record providers also exist and they can usually expedite your request to chop down a few days with the process. These independent companies can charge a bit more, but come in handy when you need the record immediately. Check out what your state requires to make sure you are properly prepared before seeking a record.

It's important to know your driver’s license status at all times, determining how you drive based on how many points are against your record is a definite no-no. Continue to be a safe and cautious driver, no matter how good or bad your driving record might be.

What's your driving record report?

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