Check Driver’s License Status - How Knowing Your Driving Record Can Empower You

You know yourself pretty well. After all, who can we know better than we know ourselves? Despite the fact that we know what we have done and what we have experienced, we often fail to get the full, objective picture of ourselves.

When we encounter people in our day-to-day lives, they make judgments based on first impressions. Should we desire, we can mostly control those impressions by presenting ourselves in a certain way—playing up our assets and hiding or minimizing our flaws. However, there are moments when our first impression is made not in person, but via paperwork. In these cases, your record of basic facts represents you, without bias or the possibility to do damage control.

When you apply for a job, attempt to purchase an insurance policy, submit an application for an apartment, or enter into court proceedings—among other things - the person who is going to make a very important and final decision for you may meet you first on paper before they meet you in person. In fact, they may never meet you in person at all. Sometimes, you can control the information they see through clever misdirection and omission on applications and other forms. However, many of these people will utilize a background check to ensure they have the complete picture of who you are.

Background checks vary depending on who is running them and for what purpose. They can include a check of your criminal record, verification of employment, and even may check driver’s license status. Any hiccup or blemish can tarnish your image with the person reviewing your records. Because of this possibility, it is vital that you have a clear understanding of what your record looks like.

Even though you know the things you have done in life, it may not be obvious to you exactly how it communicates to others until you are able to see it laid out for yourself. Before you begin any process which can result in a background check being run on you, you should run one on yourself to see what they will be seeing. This includes running a DMV check on driver’s license status.

Why Should You Run Your Own Driving Record?

This is probably the biggest question you are asking. “What could I possibly learn from a check of my driver’s license in the USA?” After all, as stated before, you know yourself and what you have done, and in the USA, we expect to be informed of any charges or fines levied against us. What could you possibly learn from running your record?

Notices Sent to the Wrong Address

If you move frequently, there is a good chance you have not yet gotten around to updating your address with the DMV. Plus, there is always the possibility of human error on the part of the DMV. If this is the case, notices and citations could be sent to the wrong address. With the proliferation of speeding and red light cameras, there is a chance that you could be ticketed without ever knowing it. Failure to pay fines or respond to notices could result in an increased penalty and even jail time. Running your own record could allow you to catch it before it becomes a problem.

Errors in the Record

It isn’t unheard of for the DMV to fail to remove citations and charges which you have been cleared of. What this means is that while the legal system may have found that you are innocent of any wrongdoing, your record may still be reporting it. There have also been cases where offences from other drivers were listed on a person’s record. As a result, very important people making very important decisions about you could be basing their judgments on inaccurate information.

The Language Used to List Offences

Let’s say everything is correct and there are no surprises. What will have been the purpose in running your record? One benefit is that you will get to see your offences listed in the language potential audiences will be reading it in. Why does this matter? Small differences in wording can make a big difference in perception. The more serious the wording, the more serious your offences will seem. Which brings us to the last thing you can learn by running your record.

How You Appear to those who Know You Only on Paper

When you see the details and the language used to describe you to others, you are better able to understand how you appear to them. This is vital when it comes to managing your “public” persona. Based on the information given and the language used, you can play up strengths which help to contrast the negative items and also look for ways to minimize their existence. For example, if you know that a DUI is still on your record, you can emphasize to a potential employer that you are going to be walking or taking public transportation to work.

When to Run Your Own Driving Record

You may be wondering exactly when you should run your own records and check your driver’s license status online. It isn’t something you want to do too frequently. Still, you need to do it often enough that you are fully aware of what your record contains and you are never caught off guard.

Even if you are not applying for jobs, insurance, apartments, or anything else that is likely to require a background check, periodically running one on yourself is a good idea. Your driving record is of particular importance as it is the element that is most likely to change and the one which is most likely to contain surprises.

If an incident occurs which concerns you—you get a parking or speeding ticket or have an accident—you should get an updated record 1-3 months after the incident. It is important that you allow the time necessary for it to be entered into the system and able to appear on your record. This will let you know if it altered your file.

It is also advisable to run your record before any event in which your record is likely to be reviewed by someone else. This could be when you apply to jobs, for insurance coverage, apartments, or enter into court proceedings—among other things.

What Information is on a Driving Record

The contents of a driving record are relatively straight forward. Most states limit the information available, so it is limited to basic personal information, license information, and citations/suspensions. While each state may include slightly different items, the list below is reflective of what you should expect.

The Basics

Each report will contain basic personal information that can be used to ensure that you have been given the correct report. This information includes your complete name, gender, date of birth, and current address on record with the DMV.

License Number and Details

This information will be the same as what you can find on your license. If you have more than one license, each will be listed here. Details include the class of license and any restrictions placed on the driver. It will also state if your license is currently valid.

Citations and Suspensions

Certain tickets, various driving offences, and license suspensions will be detailed here. Each state limits how far back the report can go. In addition to the offences being listed, any action taken by the legal system will also be detailed.

What Can You Do if Your Driving Record Contains Errors?

One of the greatest benefits of running your own record is that you can contest any errors and petition for your driving record to be amended. The exact process will vary by states. For example, in California, there are two different forms for you to fill out, depending on the error contained in the report. If the error is related to traffic violations and convictions, you use the DL207; if it is related to a traffic accident, you use the DL208. These forms are available online or via phone request. You fill out the form and either mail it to the central office or take it directly to your local DMV.

What Can You do if Your Record is Less than perfect?

As with most things, this will vary by state. In many states, there will be nothing you can do. In others, especially those utilizing a points system, you might be able to complete certain actions to lower or remove points. In these states, government approved safe driving classes might be offered for a reduction of points. Another option that is often available is the removal of points after you keep a clean record for a designated period of time. However, the best way to have a clean record is to keep it clean from the start.

How Can Driving Records Vary by State

Driving records are maintained by each individual state, though the systems are linked enough that each state can access each other’s records. Due to the fact that each state maintains their own, records are not standardized. This means, as noted above, reports from different states will vary in the information they present and how they present it. So, if you check a Florida driver’s license status, that report will not be the same as one from Missouri. What are some parts of the driving record that are determined on a state by state basis?

Years Covered

Each state sets its own limits regarding what a driving report can cover. These limits tend to vary depending on who the report is meant to be viewed by. Some states will place employers and insurance companies in the same category while others will more closely restrict reports given to insurance agencies. Some states will allow certain types of offences to remain visible for greater amounts of time than others.

Offences Covered

In some states, only egregious offences are listed—those that carry the highest fines and strongest consequences. Others might list anything and everything—even a simple parking ticket. Most states fall somewhere in the middle—covering most items but omitting small offences, such as the parking tickets.

What You Can See vs What Employers Can See

Your personal report will be more detailed than the report your employer or potential employer is able to independently obtain. This means that you will be able to see more personal information (social security number, etc) as well as an increased timeline of offences. However, what each state chooses to show will vary. It is advisable that when you run your record, you ask for both reports.

Process to Receive the Report

Most states follow the same or a similar procedure for obtaining a report. Some allow it to be completed online or by mail, but the information needed is mostly the same. Pennsylvania is the only exception, as it requires more paperwork.

Companies Specializing in Obtaining Driving Records

With all of this new knowledge, you might be wondering exactly how to check driver’s license status. You can do this on your own, but it is difficult and time consuming. The easiest option is to use a company that specializes in obtaining driving records.

These companies, such as 4SafeDrivers, tend to operate online and have years of experience in obtaining driver reports from all 50 states. Due to their experience, they are able to get your report quickly so that you can arm yourself with the knowledge of what exactly your report contains.

To use 4SafeDrivers, you first need to create a free account. You will be asked to provide some basic information to get started. Once your account has been established, you will be able to log-in and start ordering reports. In order to get your report, you will need to be able to provide your complete name, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, and the state that issued you your license.

The company will process any report requested within 24 business hours, though most require 2 hours or less to complete. You can have your report emailed to you or delivered by the US postal service. The cost varies depending on the state issuing the report. The majority of states will only cost $24.95 per report issued. Connecticut, Delaware, and Vermont cost $29.95 per report. Hawaii and Rhode Island both cost $34.95 per report. Finally, Oklahoma costs $39.95 per report.

If you are applying for jobs, attempting to obtain insurance coverage, trying to rent an apartment, or entering into court proceedings, you should absolutely run a self-background check as soon as possible—driving record included. Even if you are not, running your records can help you get the complete picture as well as catch mistakes before they have the chance to hurt you or your reputation.

If you are ready to get the complete picture of yourself as a driver, visit 4SafeDrivers.com today. Request your record and be secure in your knowledge and protection.

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