All states keep traffic records of every licensed driver in their jurisdiction. Traffic records are important for a variety of reasons.
Many drivers want to check their traffic records to confirm they don’t have records of violations they never committed, or that they've been credited for participating in remedial driver programs.
And, actuaries for insurance companies use traffic records for statistical purposes to set premiums.
State DMV offices are required to check traffic records of new applicants to be sure they don't have a suspended license in any other state, before allowing them to transfer their licenses.
During a traffic stop, law enforcement officers routinely check traffic records to ensure a driver’s license is in good standing.
Traffic records are also part of a background check of applicants for transportation jobs or other positions requiring a security clearance.
Traffic records are a matter of public record in most states. They show a variety of infractions, including speeding tickets and other moving violations, traffic accidents in which the driver was at fault, criminal DUI convictions, vehicular manslaughter convictions, records of online remediation classes, and infraction points.
The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an interstate agreement among 44 states and the District of Columbia. Under this accord, member states agree to share traffic records and driving violations with other participating states. Even states that aren’t officially part of the DLC usually exchange information with other states.
There is also a National Driver Register which keeps traffic records on relevant traffic violations. State DMV agencies use the National Driver Register to check for violations and suspensions before issuing a license to any driver who has moved from another state.
However, the data in the National Driver Register is limited. Reports are only filed with the National Driver Register if an individual’s driver’s license has been terminated or suspended in any state, or if a driver has been convicted of at least one serious traffic incident.
Since traffic records are a matter of public record, anyone can request them through the DMV or an online platform.
Even though states share traffic records with each other, they all follow different rules during the process. For example, some states only share speeding violations for drivers who were caught driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, while others will display tickets for driving 10 miles over the limit.
States also differ in the period that they keep traffic records. Some states, such as Washington, only keep records for three years while other states retain records for up to ten years.
And, it’s important to be aware of the different standards states follow in their reporting of traffic records, especially when performing background checks.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the standards for offenses differ across the country. In some states, a driver may be convicted of a DUI if found sleeping in the back seat of the car while intoxicated, even if he or she wasn't driving.
In other states, a driver may only be convicted of a DUI if the vehicle was physically moving when stopped by an officer. It's up to the person performing the background check to determine if that information is relevant to the search.
If you find information during a driving records search, it may be appropriate to give consideration to drivers for infractions that wouldn’t have been illegal in their new state. You'll need to use discretion in deciding which driving offenses are important to you.
There are a few things to keep in mind before checking traffic records. First, you’ll need to choose a reliable source for your traffic records. If you’re searching traffic records for yourself, you can usually find them through the local DMV.
If you’re seeking traffic records of another driver, you may need their written consent. Policies on checking another driver’s traffic records vary by state, but some states such as Kansas require you to ask the other driver to complete a 3rd Party Consent Form (TR-301) before the DMV can release the records.
You can also request information on your driving record from the National Driver Register. You’ll need to submit a notarized request form. The National Driver Register can share traffic records going back five years.
You can also find traffic records through online platforms. It’s important to choose a leading platform such as those available through this site, which is known for providing accurate information.
You’ll also need to consider the nature, age, and severity of any traffic violations that you discover during a search. If a driver received a speeding ticket eight years ago, he or she probably deserves less scrutiny than a driver who received a DUI within the past six months.
Your options for requesting traffic records depend on whether you’re a private citizen or a government official.
You can only request the traffic records of a driver within the state where he or she is licensed. If the driver received an infraction in another state, that report is sent to the DMV in the state that issued the license, so there’s no need to request records elsewhere.
Keep in mind that traffic records may not always be accurate, so the driver should have an opportunity to review them and petition for changes if appropriate.
For example, because of similar names sometimes DMVs have reported the wrong driver to the National Driver Register or cataloged minor offenses, such as minor speeding infractions or failing to return license plates. Drivers can check their traffic records to request that incorrect information is corrected.
Still, traffic records are usually accurate, so many people rely on them for a variety of official reasons. If you need to check the traffic record of any driver, make sure that you use the right platform.