A clean driving record is free of accidents, moving violations or points. Car insurance companies also like a record that is free of claims.

If you are in the market for a new job or insurance company, you may have seen or heard the term “clean driving record” and wondered what that means. Learn what employers mean when they use that term and read our tips on fixing your driving record.

Key Highlights
  • A driver with a clean driving record has no tickets, moving offenses or accidents. 
  • Never misrepresent your driving history, even if you are unsure what constitutes a clean record; a prospective employer or insurer will undoubtedly find out. 
  • Several states enable you to enroll in a defensive driving school to keep a ticket or points off your driving record. 

What is a clean driving record?

A clean and clear driving record will result in the best rates for your insurance premium and not present any problems if a background check (for a new job) is in your future.

Here is a quick list of items you should keep off your record if you want what is considered a good driving record:

  • Accidents
  • Minor moving violations such as speeding tickets
  • Major violations such as DUI or reckless driving
  • Points on your license

Employers (and insurers) have different definitions of “clean” regarding driving records. While some employers might insist on a spotless record, others may let one speeding ticket or minor traffic violation slide.

While a clean driving record should be everyone’s goal, it’s not always everyone’s reality. Tickets and accidents can hit your record and increase your insurance rates.

Do I have a clean driving record if I have a speeding ticket?

Both insurance companies and employers have different policies when it comes to a clean driving record. In most cases, one speeding ticket will not prevent you from getting a job or an insurance policy.

However, it is hard to know exactly what is considered a bad driving record when it comes to employers. Most employers (and insurers) are looking for drivers that have not been charged with a serious driving infraction, thinking DUI, reckless driving or excessive speeding. They also avoid drivers that come with a long history of minor violations. You could have an issue if you have numerous speeding tickets on your record.

Employers and insurers have their own policies, so in some cases, one speeding ticket may breach their standards.

Never lie about a clean driving record

Even if you are confused about what is considered a clean driving record, never lie about your driving record. A potential employer or insurer will find out. While many employers may overlook a single speeding ticket, they won’t overlook one you lied about.

Can you clear your driving record?

You might not be able to clear your driving record entirely if you already have an accident or serious moving violation like a DUI on your record. However, you can check your record for errors, and fix any you may find, and there are ways to prevent minor offenses from being tacked on to your record. Giving your driving record a good scrubbing is not as hard as you might think and could help lower your insurance costs or help you snag that dream job.

Here are a few tips on how to remove violations from a driving record:

Deal with any “fix-it” tickets: This is low-hanging fruit that is easy to fix and get off your driving record. If you have ever gotten a ticket for a broken taillight, not having your driver’s license with you or another easily fixed issue, deal with the ticket as soon as possible. This can move the ticket off your driving record, so it doesn’t impact your insurance rates.

Go to court over questionable tickets:  In most cases, drivers don’t contest a ticket, even if they feel it may have been questionable or have mitigating factors to consider.

Going to court can give you time to explain any circumstances that may have contributed to your ticket, you were on your way to the hospital due to an emergency, you were picking up your child from school after they were injured or any other factor could be considered. In addition, if the police officer who issued the ticket fails to show up to court, many judges will dismiss the ticket.

While going to court can be a hassle, it often results in a dismissed or reduced ticket.

Request a deferment: If you just received a ticket, you may request a deferment by going to court or contacting the clerk of courts or magistrate. If a deferment is granted, you must pay a fee (typically $100 to $150) and stay ticket-free for the deferment period, typically one year. If you do this, your ticket will not appear on your driving record.

However, if you do get another ticket during the deferment period, the deferment will end, and the old ticket and the new ticket will hit your driving record, causing your insurance rates to increase.

Take a defensive driving course: Many states allow you to take a defensive driving course to keep a ticket or points off your driving record. This can only be used for minor tickets such as speeding or rolling through a stop sign, not if you were cited for reckless driving, a DUI or other major infraction. Contact your DMV to see if this is possible in your state and get a list of approved courses.

Ask for an expungement: In some states, you can ask for a violation to be expunged from your record instead of waiting for the points to drop off of your driving record.

Review a copy of your driving record and fix any errors: Insurance companies look at several factors when setting rates, and your driving record is among the most important. If it’s inaccurate, you could be paying more than you should. Check your driving record to be sure it’s accurate and make any necessary corrections.


Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

Editorial Director

John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

Managing Editor

Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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