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What is a motor vehicle record?

A motor vehicle record (MVR) is a record of driving history maintained by your state. In addition to your basic identifying information and license number, your MVR will include traffic tickets, moving violations and accidents. It’s used by insurance companies to calculate rates and coverage, and sometimes is considered by trucking companies in hiring decisions.

How does a motor vehicle record work?

A motor vehicle record is linked to your name, date of birth, address and driver’s license number. It reflects DUIs, traffic citations, license suspensions and accidents, though the length of time each remains there varies by state. 

Each state has its own driving violations tracking system. The most common system entails drivers accumulating points for infractions, the number of which often depends on each violation’s severity. Drivers face penalties for earning too many points within a given time period. These may include anything from fines and mandated driving classes, up to and including losing licenses. As a truck driver, too many points on your record can make it difficult to get hired. 

What information is included on a motor vehicle record?

As mentioned, MVRs include names, birthdays, driver’s license numbers, vehicle-related crimes and accidents, and number of points drivers have earned. An example MVR is available on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s website.

It also reflects any additional endorsements or licenses (like a CDL), along with restrictions. Physical identifying information, like height, weight and eye color, are also sometimes included. 

How long do violations stay on motor vehicle records?

How long violations stay on your MVR depends on your state of residence and the type of violation. Relatively minor violations like speeding tickets usually fall off within three to five years. At-fault serious accidents and DUIs may stay on your record for much longer. Each state determines how long violations remain on drivers’ records, with some states maintaining lifelong driving histories. 

How does your motor vehicle record impact insurance?

Driving records are a determining factor for insurance premiums. Many insurance companies lower premiums as each year goes by with a clean driving record. Drivers who haven’t had a ticket for 10 years typically have lower premiums than drivers who received one last year.  

Commercial vehicle insurance can be a major expense in a trucking company’s expenses. Whether you’re an owner-operator or fleet manager, truckers with clean records qualify for lower insurance premiums, which decreases operating costs. 

Lifetime vs. standard driving record

In some states, your motor vehicle record includes two sections: lifetime and standard driving histories. As the name implies, the lifetime driving record includes all violations or marks against your motor vehicle record throughout your lifetime. The standard driving record resets to show only recent activity. The length of time violations remain in the “recent” section varies by state, but usually it’s five to ten years.

How to request your motor vehicle record

You have the right to request a copy of your motor vehicle record. Usually, you can obtain it from your state’s department or bureau of motor vehicles for under $10. 

If you’re applying for new jobs, it’s important to know what potential employers will see. And like your credit score, checking your record for inaccuracies is important to ensure its accuracy. If you find incorrect information, you can contact your state’s departments of motor vehicles to correct it. 

Here’s how to get a motor vehicle record:


Many states allow you to request an online copy. Visit the website of your state’s department or bureau of motor vehicles to find out if you can.

By mail

To obtain your motor vehicle record, check with your state’s department of motor vehicles about the procedure and mailing address. You may be able to find this information online, or you can call the local DMV to get the address. 

In office

You can obtain a motor vehicle record at a full-service driver’s license office. Some offices require an appointment while others will give you the motor vehicle record if you walk in. Call your local DMV or check online to be sure you don’t waste time waiting. 

Clear motor vehicle record, higher pay

In addition to lower insurance premiums and better job opportunities, truck drivers with a clear motor vehicle record may earn more. For trucking companies, drivers who deliver goods on time without a history of accidents or traffic violations are valuable. Some companies offer bonuses for each year of a driver’s record that’s accident-free. 

Trucking companies can implement incentive and monitoring systems, including electronic onboard recorders, to promote safe driving and accurate logging. Drivers with good driving histories add value to any trucking business. 


What does MVR mean?

MVR stands for motor vehicle record. It is your driving history, which reflects moving violations, traffic citations, collision reports and number of points against your license. 

How long does the DMV keep records?

How long the DMV keeps your driving records depends on the state. Some maintain lifetime records while others only retain records for five to ten years. Check your state’s DMV website to see its current policies.

What is MVR in logistics?

A motor vehicle record is used in logistics to determine if drivers meet their driving requirements or are disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle like a semitruck.

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