Laws surrounding motor vehicle records differ from one state to another and greatly affect your state car insurance rates.
Some states have various driver histories that are available to you, your employer, your insurance company, etc. while records that are more comprehensive are available to the courts. So if driving records are normally kept and available for viewing for 5 years there may still be a comprehensive record kept for 10 years or more that the courts could look at. This is normally done if state laws require heftier fines and harsher penalties for violations that you receive within a certain period of being convicted of the same offense. Or in some states your driving privileges can be affected if you receive 2 or more serious violations on your record within a certain period of time.
Many states have a drop off period of either points or violations. In some states your conviction for a moving violation and its associated points are taken off your record after 3 years from the conviction date. However, in other states, the points drop off but violations remain on your record permanently. For instance in Florida the state keeps the points on your record, there is no drop off period, however after 3 years they do not count toward you accumulative points total that you can be penalized for having too many points within a certain amount of time.
States may keep violations on your driving record for only a certain length of time or permanently. However, most that keep violations on it permanently will limit those that can look at your comprehensive driving record. You do have some privacy over who can see these violations in most cases. The court can see them and you normally give your insurance company the right to see your MVR so they can rate you for your auto insurance policy. The period that an insurer can rate you on an offense may be limited though.
In Florida, convictions reflecting point assessments remain on a customer's complete driver history record for a period of 10 years from the date of conviction. However, serious convictions (DUI, DUI/Manslaughter, Vehicular Homicide, etc.) will remain on the record for 75 years.
In Texas, the TX Department of Public Safety keeps moving violations and accidents on a driver's record for 5 years, with the exception of serious offenses such as DUI and no liability insurance that stay indefinitely.
In Maryland, points for traffic violations remain on your driving record until the MD Motor Vehicle Administration officially expunges them after 3 years. Certain criteria must be met for the automatic expunging of points; if this criterion is not met you can request manual expunging 3 years after the date of the violation. In Maryland, points and violations on your driving record are considered public information and thus can be pulled by an insurance company, employer, or other public entity for 3 years from the violation date. However, 2 years from the violation date the points are no longer considered current by the MVA and thus are not counted, as part of your accumulated point total.
In Montana, your driving record is a lifetime record so traffic convictions stay on your driving record for life. Montana law restricts how some aspects of a driving record may be utilized or applied. For example, conviction information older than three years that is derived solely from a driving record may not be used to affect your insurance rates or insurance eligibility.
As you can see from these examples, state laws regarding how long points and violations remain on your driving record vary greatly. Violations on your driving record can affect your insurance rates and your ability to get certain jobs. If you apply for a job that has a company car or fleet vehicle then your employer normally looks at your driving record and if you do not have a clean record, you may not be insurable by their business insurance or a company policy may not allow you to be hired. It thus is important to be aware of what is on your driving record; how long any violations and/or points will remain on it and how to get a copy of your record so you can be certain what others may see if they pull your MVR.
To find out about your state's driving you can contact your state's licensing authority who can tell you how long your motor vehicle record will be kept, how long violation convictions remain on it as well as points. This state agency can also give you information on how to get a copy of your driving record so you are aware of what violations are currently on it. You can see if your employer requests your record so that you can be on a company insurance policy or your insurance company so that they can determine your risk as a driver and thus rate you for your policy as mentioned earlier.
You can ask your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if there are different MVRs that can be requested. Sometimes there is a limited MVR and then a comprehensive MVR. You can ask who can see each according to state privacy laws. For example, the New York State DMV mentions the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), which restricts access to DMV records that contain personal information. The NYS DMV thus has different types of driving records available to different people or entities.
In Texas, there are six different types of driving records available to be viewed. They include a status record, 3-year record, a list of all accidents and violations, certified records of the aforementioned types and then a certified text abstract of your complete driving record.
Your motor vehicle record is a history of you as a driver and keeps violations, suspensions, accidents, DUIs, etc on it for a period. It is important to know how long items stay on your driving record and who can view your driving record. Also, keep in mind that your MVR is an important rating factor for insurance companies so you should always be aware of what is on it and when violations, points, etc come off it. You want to keep a clean driving record. This shows to both your state and an insurer that you are a safe driver. Not having violations on your record will help you keep your driving privileges with your state and an insurance company will find you to be less of a risk with a clean driving record and give you lower rates.
How long do motor vehicle records last? If you are licensed or even unlicensed but already have violations against you for operating a vehicle, then you have a driving record set up by the state. What is on the MVR is what is important and how long any violations, points, accidents, etc are allowed to be shown to others that request a copy of your driving record. Go to your state's DMV website or contact them on the phone directly to find out about your state's laws regarding a driver's history. Get a copy of your driving record so you can see what is on it and make sure it is correct. Finally - try to keep a "clean" MVR so that you are easier to employ and have lower insurance rates.