How to Get Your California Driving Record from the DMV

March 18, 2013

Whether you are applying for a job or a new type of license, registering for a driver's education course of some kind or maintaining your own personal files, there are a number of reasons to obtain a copy of your California driving record. This article will discuss how to do so, as well as how to improve your driving record.

How to Get a Copy of Your Driving Record from the DMV

If you live in the state of California, there are a few ways to order California driving record copies. The price and turnaround time vary according to the method of ordering. Placing an order for a California driving record online is one of the easiest ways to obtain a copy of your file, but it generally takes longer than other methods. Follow the steps below to obtain a copy of your driving record in this state.

Collect All Identification
Before you can obtain your driver's record, you'll need to present adequate proof of your identity. Bring any two of the following pieces of evidence:

  • A California drivers license
  • A passport
  • A Social Security card
  • A bank statement in your name
  • A birth certificate

You will also need the appropriate forms from the DMV. These are available at the DMV in person or over the Internet. Specifically, the form that you'll need is called the "Driver Record Request." Visit the California state DMV website to find a copy of the form. You can print it out at any location if you wish.

Submit a Driver Record Request
Complete the request form. If you're visiting the DMV in person, request a copy of the form so you can complete it in person. If you've printed the form out, complete all of the necessary information before submitting the document. Failure to completely fill out the form will nullify your request for a driving record. In California, you'll generally have to pay a small fee in order to obtain your driving license record. This fee covers the handling charges associated with creating a printed copy of the record and mailing it to you. If you submit the form in person at the DMV, you may be able to pay an additional charge to expedite the request.

You may either submit the form in person at a DMV office or mail the form to the central state office. You'll find the appropriate address listed on the form itself and on the DMV website as well. Typically, it takes between a few business days and a couple of weeks for the DMV to receive and process your request and then to mail your driving record back to you.

When requesting a driving record from the DMV, take note of the type of record. If you need a certified copy of your driving record for the purposes of a job screening, for instance, this may cost an additional fee. If you have any questions about the type of driving record you need, or about the process of requesting and obtaining a copy of the record, speak with a representative at your local DMV or consult the state DMV website.

How to Improve Your California Driving Record

The number one reason people receive high rates from insurance companies is a poor driving record. If you want better rates, the first thing you should work on is improving your California driving record. It's not easy to do, nor is it something you can accomplish overnight. You will need to be devoted to learning to drive defensively, taking your time on the road and learning to identify and avoid unnecessary risks. Many of these will focus on preventative measures, to keep your driving record from negative marks, rather than to actively fix prior negatives.

  • Practice defensive driving. Being involved in too many auto accidents is the most common reason insurance companies will impose high rates. The state of California offers many online defensive driving classes. These classes aim to teach people to make the best possible decisions on the road and to not succumb to road rage. When people do get into car accidents or receive a traffic ticket, they are often ordered to take a defensive driving class
  • Minimize traffic tickets. Insurance companies will see you as high risk if you have too many tickets, and this will affect your rates. In the state of California, your license will be suspended if you receive too many traffic tickets; a suspended license will further affect your driving record and, subsequently, your insurance rates. Traffic tickets are usually easy to avoid. The two most common types of traffic violations are speeding tickets and parking tickets. Be sure to drive at or below the posted speed limit, and never park your car illegally. If you do receive a ticket, cooperate with the authorities and pay any fines on time
  • Keep an eye on your credit. A good credit score will not help your California driving record, but it may have a positive effect on your car insurance rates. By simply paying your bills on time, you will be showing your insurance company that you are a responsible person and a good risk. An insurance company is a business, and all businesses are interested in the numbers

There are no quick fixes when it come to improving your California driving record. You need to be more responsible and careful in many areas of life in order to prove to insurance companies that you deserve the best rates. If you take all the necessary precautions and drive safely, you will eventually be rewarded with low rates.