Do You Have a Clean Driving Record? Find Out What Stays (& How Long)

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A bad driving record is like having bad credit. It pops up just when you really need something and slams the door to opportunity in your face.

But bad driving records aren’t irreversible. Most drivers have a faux pas at one point or another during their driving career.

Get in the know to learn whether you have a clean driving record. Take a look at this overview of how to check your records and how long bad info stays on your file.

What is a Clean Driving Record?

A clean driving record means you’ve been lucky enough to stay out of trouble throughout the course of your driving career. Right after getting your license, your driver’s record is in picture perfect condition.

Over time, accidents, moving violations and other points are represented on your driving record. Your insurance company has its own idea of which of these items is worse than others.

For example, some insurance companies judge hitting another car more harshly than you hitting a parked car. Some insurance companies even suggest that your driving record is clean if you haven’t filed a claim in a certain amount of time.

They’re basically trying to understand how much risk you’ll be if they take you on as a customer. A clean driving record includes information that goes back upwards of 10 years.

Driving records list both major and minor traffic violations during this time. Expect that if there was legal recourse for anything you did while driving, it’ll be on your report.

Who Needs Driving Records?

A clean driving record is most important when you’re applying for auto insurance or a job that requires driving. As with a background check, lying about having a clean driving record is in vain.

You’ll appear dishonest in a job interview if you claim to have a clean driving record on your application, but a background check comes back with countless violations.

It’s difficult to explain how you forgot about all the negative information on your record. You might not lose the job opportunity for having a bad driving record, but you will definitely lose it for lying.

The same goes for insurance companies. There are options out there for people with bad driving records even if rates are high.

Even paid speeding tickets remain on your driving record. The only way to get this removed is to go to court and prove somehow that you weren’t speeding.

But this option is given and the time you’re issued a ticket and can’t be taken back later.

Car Accidents

Unfortunately, when you get into a car accident it’ll be on your driving record no matter who was at fault. If you were at fault, the ticket you received from the officer also gets added to your record.

Everyone can assume that it was or wasn’t your fault based on whether you received a ticket. Most accidents and tickets remain on your driving record for around 3 years.

After 3 years, expect the information to fall off giving you a clean driving record if there are no other setbacks. Major car accidents that involve things like DUI or hit and run stay on your record much longer.

Expect to see these items on your driving record for 10 years. This varies from state to state, but these are the general rules you can use to manage your expectations.

Do I Have a Clean Driving Record?

The best way to find out whether you have a clean driving record is to check with your state’s DMV. Most states charge a small administrative fee to cover the cost of printing the record.

But if your county has records online, this option is usually free. Always check your driving record before shopping for auto insurance so you can answer each question on your application correctly.

But like a credit report, some driving records include mistakes. A minor violation from 10 years ago, for example, shouldn’t still be included.

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Contact your DMV if you notice anything that doesn’t look right. These items should be take off before you apply for a new job or insurance. You can also use sites like to view whether or not you have a clean driving record.

How to Create a Clean Driving Record

The best wait to create a clean driving record is to avoid car accidents at all costs. Even though you might not be at fault in an accident, you’ll still bear the burden of having it on your driving record.

This isn’t fair, but it’s the state’s way of tracking incidents on the road. Not every employer views this as a negative, but some might question you if you seem to constantly be the victim in car accidents.

Create your own clean driving record by being patient. Once items are on your record that you can’t remove, wait it out.

Perhaps this isn’t the greatest time to switch insurance or jobs. If you can’t wait, go for the most attainable insurance policy knowing that you have the option to switch once your driving record improves.

Points on Driving Record

Having points on your driving record isn’t the end of the world. You won’t be banned from all jobs or insurance policies simply because of a speeding ticket.

You’ll have a clean driving record in no time simply by waiting for the negative info to drop off in time. Always check your record before applying for any new insurance policies so you know where you stand.

For more information and tips, check our blog for updates.

Interesting related article: “We should all practice defensive driving.”