If a prospective employer asks if you have a clean driving record, don't automatically think you've blown your chances just because you got a speeding ticket 10 years ago. Likewise, a driving record with a few minor tickets might not bump up your insurance rates. If you are concerned about your driving record, you may be able to clear it.
What Shows Up on Your Driving Record?
Your driving record shows every speeding ticket, accident and traffic-law conviction. Some examples of driving-related offenses include eluding the police, driving without insurance, driving under the influence, and failing to stop and provide assistance at an accident involving injuries or death.
Can You Clear Your Driving Record?
You can clear your driving record in several ways.
- Contest some tickets to try to get penalties reduced or dismissed. Mitigating factors may get you leniency from a judge, for example, if you were speeding because you were rushing to get an injured person to the hospital or your speedometer was wrongly calibrated.
Take a state-approved defensive driving course or driver improvement clinic, offered by some states.
Successful completion can remove points from your record. For example, you can attend a driver improvement clinic in North Carolina (for a fee of $65) if you have seven points on your record. Completing the clinic removes three points from your driving record, and you can attend the clinic for point reduction once every five years. However, this won’t remove serious moving violations, like a DUI, from your record. In California, a DUI conviction stays on your record for 10 years and in Florida, alcohol-related violations stay with you for 75 years. Request expungement of penalty points before they expire, available in some states. For instance, in Maryland, you can expunge certain violations after three years provided you haven’t committed any moving violations since or had your license suspended.
Drive carefully. Sometimes, states reward you simply for driving carefully for a period of time. For example, three points are removed from your driving record in Pennsylvania if you drive for 12 months consecutively without committing a moving violation or getting a suspended or revoked license.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Point Off Your Driving Record?
The length of time it takes to get a point removed from your driving record depends on how you go about it. A defensive driving course or driver improvement clinic may take only a few hours to complete, but it can take up to 60 days for the information (and new points status) to appear on the printed copy of your driving record.
Read More: How to Clean a Driving Record
While there's no set legal definition of a clean driving record, it generally means a record free of accidents, moving violations and points. An insurance company may also look at insurance claims to determine whether your record is clean.
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.