What is a Point on a Driver's License?

Many drivers have no idea what's on their driving record. But how many points and infractions you rack up can influence how much you pay for auto insurance and even what jobs you can apply for. Knowledge is power, which is why it's a good idea to learn how to check your driving record. Then, you'll be able to act and clean up your record when you need to.

Where Can I Check My Driving Record?

You can check your driving record through your state's driver licensing body. In other words, at the department that issued your driver's license:

Online, By Mail, or in Person

Most states allow you to check your driving record online, whether they've adopted a points system or not. You'll need to provide sensitive private information to confirm your identity.

If you'd prefer, you could instead get your record in person. Visit your state's licensing body (you may need to make an appointment), and you'll often get it on the spot.

Alternatively, you could fill out official paperwork, send it through the mail, and get your record some days later.

What Kind of Driving Record Do I Need?

There are two kinds of driving records: official and unofficial. Which one you need depends on why you're getting a record in the first place.

Is it just so you know how you've been doing as a driver? Then an unofficial copy works. But if you need to show a potential employer or an insurance agent your driving record, you'll likely need an official record.

Keep in mind that getting an official copy of your driving record could be more complicated. Even states that give you the option to get an unofficial copy online might have you fill out a paper form and either mail it or drop it off at the licensing body to get an official one. California is a good example.

What to Do If Your Driving Record Is Bad

Once you know what's on your record, you may want to clean it up. The good news is that some states do let drivers expunge certain offenses from their driving records. If you made a dumb mistake in the past, there are ways of fixing it!

Wait for Points to Expire

For starters, your record could clean itself. Points you accrue for certain violations will disappear from your record after a set amount of time. For example, speeding in Texas racks up points on your license, but they go away after three years.

Fix Issues with Your Vehicle

If you get a "correctable violation ticket" (also known as a "fix it ticket") from law enforcement, you can address that issue quickly and keep it off your record in some states. California drivers stopped for a broken tail light can get it repaired quickly and not accrue points.

Contest the Ticket

You could also contest your ticket in court. This takes a lot more time and money, but if you know you got a ticket unjustly, you could fight it. For example, drivers in Florida caught allegedly driving a vehicle with an expired registration have a shot of clearing their record.

Take Defensive Driving Classes

The easiest way of clearing your record is to take defensive driving lessons. Not all states give drivers this chance, but some (like Texas) do. After getting your ticket, you need to waive your right to trial and request the court's permission to take a state-approved defensive driving course. Then, take the lessons and complete the final exam (if required). Once you get the certificate of completion in the mail, you should sign it and send it to the court.

Improve Your Record and Save Money Conveniently

Getting a ticket dismissed isn't so hard when you can take self-paced defensive driving classes online. They'll fit seamlessly into your schedule and will even teach you how to become a better driver so you don't rack up points or infractions again.

Need a traffic ticket dismissed? Get your defensive driving course taken care of online today!

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Updated 12/6/22