When to Order Your Driving Record

Your driving record (also called a motor vehicle report, or MVR) contains a variety of information about you and your driver history—and that information is important to both you and other entities.

Below is a summary when and why you should order a driver's license check and other parties you can expect to access your report.

Driving Record Information

Most driving records include the following:

  • The state from which the record comes.
  • Your personal identification information, such as your:
    • Full name and address.
    • Date of birth.
  • Specific driver's license information, such as its:
    • Number.
    • Type, class, and restrictions.
    • Endorsements.
    • Status (i.e. valid, suspended, or revoked).
    • Issuance and expiration dates.
  • Driver license points.
  • Information about convictions, including the:
    • Citation number and date.
    • Conviction date.
    • Violation code and offense type.

Some driving records also include your voter registration status and citizenship status.

NOTE: Most states—if not all—allow you to order records that go back a specific amount of time.

Why Check Your Driver History

Obviously, you already know most of the information included on your driving record. You know your name, address, and hair color, right?

However, you might lose track of or even be completely oblivious to certain elements like:

  • Driver's license points.
  • Convictions still remaining on your record.
  • Your driver's license status.
    • You might be surprised at the number of people who aren't aware their licenses are suspended due to simple reasons such as points accumulation.

These types of information are important for you to know. For example, if you know you've received a few traffic violations, it's important to know whether your points are getting high enough to bring license to suspension and, if so, what you can do to reduce or offset some of them.

Also, it's important to be aware of this information when it's necessary for someone else to access your motor vehicle report.

Who Can Check Your Driving Record

A number of entities might require a copy of your driving record, but the most common include:

  • The police.
    • Law enforcement officers often run a quick driver's license check during a traffic stop to make sure your license status is valid.
  • Potential employers.
    • This mostly applies to employers who require their employees to operate motor vehicles as part of the job—especially if they're company-owned vehicles.
  • Possible car insurance providers.
    • Car insurance providers use your driving history to determine how much of a risk you are to insure; the results can affect your rates or even lead to coverage denial.

Potential State Law Requirements

Aside from law enforcement, most people who order your driving record must meet certain criteria (such as proving they have a valid reason for requesting your record) or follow specific procedures (such as using a particular ordering process), depending on state law and whether they want a certified or uncertified copy.

On the other hand, these people might be able to skip the state requirements and perform a driver's license check on you using a third-party agency; however, many of these agencies can't provide certified copies, which are necessary for most legal uses.

Similarly, your driving history can show up on a background check. At this point, the people ordering your record could bypass any state requirements; however, again, generally these driving records aren't certified and can be useless as far as legal matters are concerned.

How to Order Your Driving Record

There's no universal way to order your driving record; every state has its own procedures, identity requirements, and fees.

Refer to our guide to Driving Records and choose your state for specific ordering procedures.

Third-Party Companies

As mentioned above, many third-party companies offer services for performing a driver's license check, and there are pros and cons to using these third-party companies.

For example, sometimes they're free, and sometimes they charge a fee that's more expensive than if you ordered your record from the state. Likewise, third-party agencies generally can't provide certified copies—which often are necessary for certain legal uses—while state governments do offer certified copies. However, usually third-party businesses deliver instant reports while it might take a few days or even weeks when you order from the state.

Carefully consider your reasons for ordering the driving record and pay attention to exactly what the third-party agency offers before you choose to go through one of these companies or through your state.

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