How to Remove an Accident From My Driving Record

By Margaret O'Donnell
David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

An automobile accident often results in increased insurance premiums and, in some cases, can even jeopardize a person's employment. If you have ever been in an accident, you can find out if your state offers options for removing the accident from your driving record. By contacting your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you can obtain your driving history, check to see if accidents and traffic violations have been correctly reported and inquire about options you might have for removing the accident or violation from your record.

Contact your state's DMV and request a copy of your driver history. You can do this online by going to Onlinedmv.com (see the Resources section of this article) and entering the name of your state. You will be linked directly to your state DMV and provided with contact information for online, mail or phone requests for driving records and other information.

Review your driver history for dates, violations and accidents. Driver records cover a period of three years or more, which will vary by state and violation type. In some states, such as New York and Maryland, accidents and traffic violations remain on your driver history for three years. In other states, such as Texas and Arizona, accidents stay on your record for five years. If your record has an error in it, you need to report it to the DMV.

Write a letter to the DMV to report errors and request removal of expired accidents or violations on your driving record. For example, if your record shows a traffic violation charge that was dropped or reversed by a hearing in traffic court, submit the court report to the DMV with your request to remove the incident from your record. If an expired accident still appears on your record, request that it be removed and provide copies of tickets or other documentation that show the date of the accident.

Inquire whether your state DMV offers options for removal of an accident record before the expiration period of the violation. This is called an expungement request. State or local DMVs may require traffic school, which means taking and passing a defensive driving course or other driver improvement course to eliminate points received for the accident.

Identify approved defensive driving courses through your state DMV website or by calling the DMV office. In most states, attending traffic school will remove traffic violations related to an accident, such as speeding. Traffic school will not necessarily remove the record of the accident from your driving history prior to its expiration period, but can remove the traffic violation points incurred by the accident.

Attend traffic school by registering for the course, going to all the classes and taking all required exams. Submit proof of passing the course, such as a letter or certificate, to the DMV.

Request another driver history within 60 days of reporting errors or taking and passing a driving class to verify that the appropriate changes have been made to your driver history record.

About the Author

Margaret O’Donnell has more than 20 years of experience in writing, researching and editing. She has worked for a variety of organizations, including the law firm of King & Spalding and the National Soft Drink Association, both in Washington, D.C. O’Donnell holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland and a paralegal certification from Georgetown University.