Understanding the Different Driver History Reports

Driving records can be obtained in a variety of different formats depending on what is needed. You can order them online or by mail, but it’s important to understand the differences so you can be sure to get the information you need.

Driving Abstracts

Driving abstracts are abbreviated driving reports typically used by insurance companies and employers as a risk assessment tool. They contain all accidents, violations, and license actions for the subject for the most recent three years. Driving abstracts can easily be requested from a state DMV with written consent from the driver.

Driving Record

A driving record, also called a motor vehicle report, contains all public records related to the driver’s driving history. This includes driving information such as accidents, license suspensions, moving violations, and tickets as well as personal information such as mailing addresses, social security number, and more. From the moment you get a driver’s license, you have a driving record.

Different infractions stay on a driving record for varying periods of time; speeding tickets show up for three years, while DUIs may remain for up to ten years or more. Some states have a point system; each infraction earns points and a license can be suspended or revoked when a specified point level is reached. The driving record will reflect the points on the driver’s record.

You can request a copy of your own online motor vehicle report from your DMV. You will receive a non-certified copy which you can use for your own reference. Certified copies can be requested for employment or legal purposes.

Driver’s License Status Report

The license status report shows the current standing of your license plus your name, address, and date of birth. If all you need to confirm is that your license is active and in good standing, this report will do the trick.

Complete Driving Record

A full driving record will show every detail of your driving history. Even violations that were reduced or removed will appear on a full report.

Who Can Request Your Driving Record?

Employers also often request motor vehicle checks on potential and current hires, especially for positions that require operating a motor vehicle on the job. Employers use motor vehicle reports to ensure that drivers who represent them on the road will do so safely and responsibly. It’s important to know that anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of your driving record must obtain your written consent first.

You also have access to your own information. If you drive for a living, request a copy of your driving history. Check it for errors and make the necessary corrections so you’re not caught by surprise the next time your history is checked.

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