After obtaining a driver’s license, driving records become an important part of any driver’s life.
But why are they exactly? This register is an essential document that could affect your everyday life, impacting everything from your finances to your rights, if not properly taken care of. Learn everything there is to know about driving records and start keeping an eye on yours.
A driving record is a registry of your driving behavior as a way of controlling who is on the road and how they are behaving. This record is the property of the traffic government agency of your state. When you change your state of residence, the information is seamlessly passed from one government agency to the other.
You can access your driving record at all times. Some states have a DMV website where you can log on by entering your license number and automatically download your driving record. Other states require you to hand in a written request in order to receive a copy of the document. Generally, the DMV issues a driving record copy which costs approximately $10.
Before requesting driving records, it’s important to determine what type of record you need. Certified records are usually requested for formal purposes while non-certified ones are for personal use.
Important: Each state has a set of rules regarding who can access driving records. Checking the governing law is the best way to find out who can read your driving history.
It’s highly recommended to do so, particularly when you are about to purchase auto insurance since it gives you the opportunity to check that there are no mistakes that could affect the auto premium. If that is the case, these may be corrected and save you auto insurance money.
Firstly, driving records contain your particulars such as your name, gender, address and date of birth. Your license number appears as well, with the issuing and expiration dates. But, most importantly, traffic offenses are listed there, from least to most serious. Fines that don’t assign points are also recorded and, of course, any traffic-related convictions.
Sometimes information such as these can be erased, although it mostly depends on the state you live in. In some cases, driving points are cleared out, but more serious offenses may remain longer or even permanently.
Driving records are important because they register your driving behavior and can alter different aspects of your life. These are just a few aspects that could be impacted by your driving performance:
Besides having to pay a steep fine, there are other more permanent ways in which the current situation of a driving record could impact your finances. One of them is the auto insurance premium.
Even though insurance agencies have their own factors that are weighed in when defining driver’s risks such as age, car model and safety features, they do pay close attention to behavior behind the wheel, and in order to do so, they check driving records.
What does a traffic violation mean for insurance premiums? That depends on the gravity of the offense, but it could mean that the driver is reckless and thus, poses a higher risk of a claim.
Are you a high-risk driver? Auto insurance companies consider the following to be typical offenses of a high-risk driver:
In some cases, it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since a traffic violation, especially if it’s a serious one like DUI.
Important: Negatively rated driving records can also increase other premiums such as life insurance or health insurance ones.
Driving records are usually required by possible future employers, and if your record shows a serious traffic offense, that could lead to disqualification, especially when it comes to jobs that require driving, like traveling salespeople and cab drivers. The risk for your boss is even higher if you’re working in a company car.
Some interviewers ask job candidates to bring a copy of their driving records to make sure that no serious offenses have been committed, whether for a driving-related job or not. After all, driving records are a reflection of a candidate’s responsibility (unsurprisingly, a quality much appreciated for any job position), so this may be a factor to rule you out.
If, for some reason, you are in court for a traffic-related offense, a spotless driving record could definitely help make your case, whereas a stained one could influence the judge’s ruling negatively.
Breaking the law can sometimes have serious consequences. For example, a driver that commits multiple DUIs within a period of 10 years, for instance, can lead to that person losing precious rights in the state of New York such as the right to vote, the right to travel internationally and the right to work for the government.
It is widely known that some driving offenses carry drastic consequences such as having a license suspended for certain period of time, depending on the governing state, or even revoked. In most states, the tolerance to infraction varies depending on the age of the driver. Young drivers may be suspended more easily or have to attend safe driving classes to minimize the impact of an offense on their driving records and driving rights.
Driving is a great responsibility and driving records are a clear reflection of how serious and reliable a driver can be. An unreliable driver can be extremely dangerous and this document can help minimize such risks to everyone else.
By caring for yourself and others while driving you can keep a clean driving record, remain eligible for any kind of employment, avoid increases on insurance rates, etc.