Driving Record FAQ
Your driving record (also known as a motor vehicle report [MVR] or driver's license check) holds vital information about your driving history.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about what driver records contain, who can access the information, when and why you should request a driver's license check, and more.
What's included in a driving record?
Your driver record will include information such as:
- The state and agency from which the report comes.
- Your personal identification information, including your:
- Full name and address.
- Date of birth.
- Gender and personal appearance.
- Specific driver license details, including the license:
- Type, class, and restrictions.
- Status (whether it's valid, suspended, revoked, or canceled).
- Issue and expiration dates.
- How many points you have on your driver's license.
- Details about any convictions, including the:
- Citation number and date.
- Conviction date.
- Offense type and violation code.
Check out our guide to reading your driving record for more info.
How does the information on my driving record affect me?
The information on your driving record helps or hurts you in a number of ways.
A poor driving record can lead to:
- Driver's license suspension.
- High car insurance rates.
- Ineligibility for certain jobs.
Conversely, having a good driving record can help you save money on car insurance.
Why is my driver history recorded?
Mainly your driver record exists so driver license agencies have a convenient source they can refer to for information about you as a driver.
As mentioned above, your state's agency uses the information to deal with factors such as driver license points and your license status (i.e., valid, suspended, revoked, or canceled).
Also, if you move to another state, that state's agency might access your record from your previous state to determine whether you're eligible for a license in your new state.
Who uses my motor vehicle record?
Firstly, you—mostly to keep up with your points, traffic convictions, and driver's license status.
Secondly, other parties such as a:
- Driver's license agency.
- Your DMV keeps up with the information to keep watch on your license status.
- Other state agencies will look at your record to determine if you're eligible for a license in that state, if you move.
- Law enforcement officer.
- If you're pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer might run a license check to make sure your license is valid.
- Car insurance company.
- Your current provider uses the information to determine rate decreases or increases, as well as whether you're eligible to renew your policy.
- A potential agency uses the information to determine whether you're eligible for a policy and, if so, at what cost.
- Potential employer.
- Generally, employers who require their employees to drive—especially company-owned vehicles—want to see the driving record.
Keep in mind, each state has specific laws on who, why, and how another party can check your driving record.
How long does the information remain?
Unfortunately, this depends entirely on state laws and the situation.
As mentioned above, generally driver's license points disappear after a certain period of time (or after you've completed an approved traffic school).
However, traffic violations are a different story. Typically, basic violations drop off after a certain number of years. More serious violations, such as drunk driving or vehicular homicide, could stay on your record for life.
Can I change information on my driving record?
Most often, yes. For example, if your driver's license points are incorrect or a traffic violation should have disappeared by now, you want to correct that information.
Naturally, the process varies by state, and in some cases (such as those involving traffic violations or points removal due to completing a traffic school) you might need to provide certain documentation.
Some DMV websites provide forms with instructions; if yours doesn't, contact your driver license agency for details.
Will my MVR show up on a background check?
Perhaps. Generally, it depends on the thoroughness of the background check.
However, keep a couple of things in mind:
- Unless the person ordering the background check has official access to a certified report based on your state laws, that person probably is getting the report through a third-party agency. Such agencies can provide information, but it's usually not certified and not always up to date.
- If you've committed any driving-related crimes that show up on a criminal background check (such as drunk driving), it's likely that information will show up.
How do I obtain a driver's license check?
Every state has its own procedures, identity proof requirements, and fees. Refer to our Driving Records section and select your state for specific ordering procedures.
Numerous third-party agencies will perform a driver's license check, but keep a few things in mind before ordering from these companies:
- Sometimes they're free; sometimes they charge a higher fee than your state charges.
- Generally, the higher fee is due to the faster service.
- Most, if not all, third-party companies can't provide certified copies of driving records.
- While a non-certified copy might suit your personal needs, usually a certified copy is required for any legal uses.
- Many third-party agencies can deliver an instant report.
- Your driver license agency might take days or even weeks.
Can anyone order my driving record?
Whether or not another party can order your driving record from your state's driver license agency is up to your state's laws and procedures. Sometimes, this even means obtaining your consent.
Additionally, if a person tries to order your driving record from a third party, they might need to provide information they don't have access to (such as your driver's license number).
However, as mentioned above, certain background checks and criminal background checks might provide information about your driving history.
How much does a license check cost?
Fees vary by state and/or the third-party company.
How long will it take to get my driving report?
While third-party agencies generally provide instant delivery (although, they're usually non-certified records), the amount of time it takes to obtain a certified report from your state's driver license agency varies by state.
Should I order a certified or non-certified record?
This depends on your needs.
Generally, a non-certified driving record is used for personal information only, and sometimes that information isn't up to date (even if you order it from your driver's license agency). However, it's a good option for those needing a quick glance or confirmation of information they suspect is already on the record.
A certified driving record is one that's verified by your state's driver's license agency. As long as both you and the agency have kept up with the information on the record (for example, making sure driver license points are accurate and suspensions have been lifted at appropriate times), certified driving records are more reliable.