What is on a driving record?
Driving record details vary from state to state, but most records contain information such as moving violations, license status, number of points (if applicable) and accident history. Some states' driving records contain more detailed information or law-specific items that pertain to an individual's driving history. An online driving record obtained through DMV.com contains:
License restrictions dictate the conditions in which a driver can operate a motor vehicle. The most commonly known restriction pertains to teen drivers under the age of 18. Some states put various restraints on a teen's driving for the first year of driving, while others simply require a teen driver to practice only with an immediate family member. Other license restrictions include the required use of corrective lenses, a restriction for only driving during the day time and restrictions for medical conditions like epilepsy, fainting or heart conditions. Drivers with disabilities who require certain aids will also have license restrictions on their driving records.
A license endorsement can be obtained for drivers operating specialty vehicles. Endorsements can be placed on a driver's license if his or her mode of transportation meets the requirements for a specialty transport service vehicle. Drivers who operate vehicles with the purpose of transporting a large number of passengers, such as school buses and airport shuttles, can qualify for a license endorsement. Drivers who exchange transport services for payment, such as taxis and privately chauffeured cars, can also be eligible for license endorsements. Furthermore, other endorsements are available for drivers who operate vehicles for delivery and pick-up services, such as tow trucks and hazmat transport vehicles.
A driver's license status indicates whether he or she can or cannot drive - and if the latter, for how long. The most common status types to look for on a driving record are "suspended" and "revoked." A suspended license means a driver cannot operate a vehicle for a specified period of time, whereas a revoked license indicates that driving privileges and the validity of an individual's ID have been cancelled. If a license is revoked, the driver must obtain a new license after the period of revocation has ended. Some states have a probationary status that allows a driver to use his or her license under specific parameters, such as driving only to and from school, home and work. Additionally, if a licensee is deceased, that individual's license status will indicate this. However, if your license is not revoked, suspended or on probation, you will simply see a status of "active" on your record.
Convictions, Penalties and Demerit Points
Drivers with serious offenses such as vehicular manslaughter or DUI/DWI will find details regarding these convictions on their DMV.com driving records. Minor traffic violations (i.e. speeding or running a stop sign) that resulted in an administrative penalty will show up as fees incurred by the driver, as well. For states with a point system, demerit points are accrued when traffic violations are committed, and these points are also showcased on a driving record.
Driving Record Points in Detail
Not all states implement a point system for traffic violations. Therefore, not all driving records will have this information. For those states that do use a point system, their driving records will display how many points a driver has accrued and the committed violations that resulted in them.
Some common moving violations that result in points being added to a driver's license include DUI/DWI, reckless driving, fleeing the scene of an accident, running a red light and speeding.
Each state differs regarding how many points are assigned to each violation. For example, in the state of Florida, a DUI accumulates zero points, whereas this offense is worth six points on a driver's record in Ohio. Furthermore, in Arizona, this offense is worth eight points. Every state that participates in a point system has a set number of points that a driver can accumulate within a certain period of time without incurring serious consequences. In the state of Ohio, a driver can incur 11 points within a two-year period, but if he or she reaches 12 points within this timeframe, this will result in a driver's license suspension of six months. Florida's point system, meanwhile, works on an aggregate basis, which dictates that:
- 2 points in 12 months results in a 30-day license suspension.
- 18 points in 18 months is worth a three-month suspension.
- 24 points in 36 months constitutes a one-year suspension.
Furthermore, some states require that certain actions be taken when a certain number of points are accumulated. In the state of Arizona, if a driver accrues eight points or more in a two-year period, he or she is required to enroll in traffic survival school. In general, most states assign point values to violations based on the severity of the infractions. More serious offenses, like vehicular manslaughter, can generate a higher number of points, and less serious violations, like speeding, can accumulate a lower number of points. A violation's degree of seriousness is subject to change from state to state. For instance, some states view a DUI/DWI as a minor or moderate offense, whereas other states view it as one of the most serious infractions. The duration that points will remain on a driver's record also varies from state to state. In some states, like California, depending on the type of violation, points can remain on a driving record for up to 10 years.
Some states, like Virginia and California, work with negative demerit points, which is a system in which negative points are put on a driver's record instead of accumulating points. With either system, in order to be considered a safe driver, the licensee should aim for having zero points on his or her driving record. When an individual travels outside of his or her state of residence, it is important to note that most moving violations that occur out of state will be applied to the motorist's driver's license based on his or her resident state's laws and regulations pertaining to those offenses. This also applies to points. State-to-state law enforcement communication facilitates the adding of points onto a driving record, even if violations are committed outside of the driver's resident state.
How to Get Points off a Record
For some states with a point system, a driver can remove accrued points on his or her license by participating in safety-oriented programs such as traffic school or a defensive driving course. Some states like Arizona implement a system in which attending one of these classes dismisses the charge and the resulting points.
Other states offer a safety point system that awards safety points, which go toward negating the demerit points that have already been accumulated from traffic violations. For instance, Virginia residents can be given up to five "safe driving points" within a calendar year and use those points to offset accumulated points for traffic violations. Using a similar system, the state of Ohio offers two "credit points" to drivers who participate in a remedial driving course. The two credit points can be used to nullify points that would normally be added to a driver's record for a minor infraction, and can help those drivers dangerously close to the 12-point limit to avoid suspension.
Other states only remove points from a driving record if an individual maintains a clean history for a certain amount of time, ranging from a few months to a number of years. For example, California will remove traffic violations worth one point after a period of three years. In the state of Maryland, points are not removed at all, but rather, after two years, they are not deemed "current" points. In Florida, points continue to accumulate and are never removed from a driving record, but the state's regulations allow drivers to participate in certain programs that help prevent the addition of points onto a record.