In the state of Texas, the agency in charge of driving services is the Department of Public Safety (DPS), not the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) as in many states. This agency also stores the driver records of Texas residents, including driving license numbers.
This can be very useful when a person needs to obtain a second license, get a replacement license, or request and obtain copies of their own records. It is also possible to request the Texas driver records of someone else, but there are strict rules about the circumstances for such access.
Lost or Stolen Texas License
It seems that it will never happen, but, in fact, many people lose their driver's licenses, in Texas as well as in other states. If the individual is certain that the license has not fallen into someone else's hands, they may wish to get a duplicate license with the same number as the prior license.
This would be the course to take, for example, if a card falls into a campfire. In this case, it is possible to order a duplicate online from the Texas DPS for $11.
To do this, an individual will require their Texas driver's license number and the audit number from their most recently issued card. If they do not have these numbers, or if there is a possibility that the card ended up in another person's possession, they must go in person to the DPS agency to order a replacement driver's license. There, they'll have to:
- Obtain and complete an application.
- Make an appointment at their local driver license office.
- Provide the application and appropriate identity document.
- Provide their thumbprint.
- Have their photo taken.
- Pay the fee.
If the license was stolen, the person should file a police report. When they visit the DPS office for the replacement license, they should bring a copy of that report. The agent will decide whether to issue a new license with a different number instead of issuing a duplicate license.
Texas Driver Records
When someone talks about driver records, most people think of their driver's license. But there are other types of driver records and, in Texas, the Department of Public Safety is responsible for them.
Included in the records are basic status information about an individual who has applied for a driver's license in Texas, including their date of birth, license status, home address and original Texas driver license application date.
Records pertaining to driving history are also considered driver records in Texas. This includes all of the above, plus a list of accidents if a ticket was written, as well as all moving violations. It can also include a list of all crashes even if no ticket was issued, and all recorded traffic violations, both moving and non-moving. Finally, these records can include all driver's license suspensions.
Reasons to Order Texas Driver Records
A Texas driver may wish to order their own Texas driver records for several reasons. One primary reason is when they are applying to the court to take an approved defensive driving course, often called the Texas Defensive Driving & Traffic School Course.
In some cases, Texas courts will agree to dismiss a moving violation if a driver successfully completes a defensive driving course. In order to apply, the driver must submit their driver record to the court. Alternatively, the court may agree to remove points from the person's driving record.
A driver might also need to supply their driver record to an employer in order to be considered for a particular position that involves driving. For example, someone applying for a school bus driver job may be asked to submit their driving record, and automobile insurance companies can request a copy before issuing a liability policy.
Ordering Texas Driver Record for Oneself
There are several ways a Texas driver can obtain a copy of their own driving record. The DPS website has a page setting out instructions to place an order and discussing various ways of doing so. They recommend ordering a driving record online, but it is also possible to order a copy by mail.
To order a record online, the driver must know the type of driver record they need. Available types are listed below. Note that a Type 3A is required for a Defensive Driving Course.
Name, date of birth (DOB), license status and latest address.
3-Year History Record
Name, DOB, license status, list of accidents and moving violations on record within past 3-year period.
Certified Copy of 3-Year History
This record is not acceptable for Defensive Driving Course.
List of All Accidents and Violations on Record
Name, DOB, license status, list of all accidents and violations on record.
Certified List of All Accidents and Violations on Record
This record is acceptable for Defensive Driving Course.
Certified List of All Accidents and Violations on Record
Certified abstract of complete driving record of a license holder.
How to Order Driver Records
Once an individual has determined which type of driving record they want to order, they should collect certain information before beginning the online transaction:
- Most recently issued Texas driver license, commercial driver license, identification card number and audit number from that card.
- Date of birth.
- Final four digits of their SSN.
They should also be sure to use the latest version of one of these browsers: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari. They should download Adobe Reader if it is not already active on their computer, and make sure that they have the ability to print or email the requested record immediately after they buy it.
The steps to take to order and obtain records is set out here on the DPS website.
Cost to Obtain Driving Records
Each type of record requires a fee. Certified records 2A and 3A each cost $10; Type 1 $6; Type 2 $8; Type 3 $7; and Type AR $20. Fees must be paid online with a valid credit card.
Getting Someone Else's Texas Driver Records
Can an individual or business order the driver records of a Texan? Only if they have written permission from the driver whose records are sought, which is often the case when the records are requested as part of a job application. Alternatively, the records are available to someone with certain, legitimate reasons that line up with the dictates of federal law.
Access to driving records is restricted by the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). The DPPA was enacted in 1994 to protect the privacy of personal information assembled by states. It prohibits the release or use of personal information about an individual obtained by a state in connection with a motor vehicle record.
This includes information stored by any state Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Public Safety or any officer, employee or contractor working for those departments.
Requirements of the Driver Privacy Protection Act
Under the DPPA, this protected status applies to personal information like the driver’s name, address, phone number, Social Security number, driver identification number, photograph, height, weight, gender, age, certain medical or disability information and in some states, fingerprints.
The DPPA sets penalties for violations of the privacy protections. It also provides that those who violate the federal law will be liable to the individual whose private information is released.
However, the Act has more than a few exceptions. For example, a driver’s personal information can be obtained from the state DMV or DPS by any federal, state or local agency that needs it to carry out its functions.
Permissible Uses to Obtain Someone Else's License Information
A variety of other "permissible uses" are set out in the DPPA statute. In Texas, only an applicant with a valid reason under the DPPA for searching someone's driving records can obtain them.
A person with a legitimate reason must fill out a form, pay a fee and submit their request. It is unlawful for any person to make false representations to obtain personal information from an individual's motor vehicle record. Records requests take up to 14 days to be processed.
Obtaining Texas Driver Information
Anyone who determines that they have a valid reason under DPPA to obtain someone else'sTexas driver records should do so online. The place to start is the Records Request webpage of the Texas Department of Public Safety. First click "TX Driver License," then "Record Information," which leads the user to the records request page.
The DR-1 Application for Copy of Driver Record is available for download on that page. The applicant should download it and print it out, then fill out the two forms. Page one identifies the records sought, and page two is where the applicant indicates the exception to the DPPA that provides them "permissible use."
The applicant must initial next to each exception that applies. Included permissible uses are:
- In connection to carry out the purpose of laws relating to automobiles.
- By a government agency in carrying out its functions.
- In connection with a matter of (a) motor vehicle or motor vehicle operator safety; (b) motor vehicle theft; (c) motor vehicle product alterations, recalls or advisories; (d) performance monitoring of motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts or motor vehicle dealers; (e) motor vehicle market research activities, including survey research; or (f) removal of non-owner records from the original owner records of motor vehicle manufacturers.
- By a legitimate business to verify the accuracy of personal information submitted by the individual to the business and to obtain correct information to prevent fraud by pursuing a legal remedy against, or recovering, on a debt or security interest against the individual.
- In conjunction with a court or agency proceeding, including service of process, investigation in anticipation of litigation, execution or enforcement of a judgment or order.
- In research or in producing statistical reports, but only if the personal information is not published or used to contact any individual.
- By an insurer or insurance support organization in connection with claims investigation activities, anti-fraud activities, rating or underwriting.
- In providing notice to an owner of a towed or impounded vehicle.
- By a licensed private investigator agency or licensed security service.
- By an employer to obtain or verify information relating to a holder of a commercial driver license that is required under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 313.11.
- In connection with a private toll transportation facility.
- By a consumer-reporting agency.
- For any other purpose specifically authorized by law that relates to the operation of a motor vehicle or to public safety.
- In the preventing, detecting or protecting against identity theft or other acts of fraud.
Mail the Form With Fees
Mail the form to the address noted, making sure to indicate the type of records check you desire, and include the appropriate fee with the completed form. The request will be processed, and records will be sent to you within two weeks.
- Texas DPS: Application for Copy of Driver Record
- Texas: Licensee Driver Records
- Texas DPS: How to Order a Driver Record
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Home
- Texas DPS: How to Replace your Driver License, Commercial Driver License or ID Card
- Texas DPS: FAQs re Lost or Stolen Driver License, Commercial Driver License or ID Card
- Texas DPS: Form DL 14a
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.