Getting copies of other people’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and driving records is not hard…assuming you have a legitimate right to them. The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), a federal law passed in the 1990s and updated in 2000, was specifically written to protect drivers’ personal information from searches and clearly restricts the reasons why anyone can have access to drivers license records. Those reasons include issues related to damaged or stolen vehicles, determining the legitimacy of information provided for credit or employment, and information related to court proceedings, be they criminal, civil or administrative.
If none of those apply to you, then your choices are to either hire a private investigator or use one of the many online services…both of which will cost you money. The private eye will be more expensive than online services and, unless you have special circumstances that require a lot of tracking, not worth the extra money. Just to give you an idea, private eyes might charges several hundred dollars per hour of research plus a retainer fee!
If you are going to need to get access to DMV records more than once, then signing up for an annual service is probably in your best interest. However, you would have to do all the work with no guarantee that you will be successful.
Getting a copy of your own DMV driving records is much easier, you just fill out a form, sign it and have it notarized, and you can get your copy for free. Even easier, you can usually go to one of your state driver’s license exam station and get a copy of your record while you wait. That way you’ll see what employers and insurance companies are going to find out about you.
The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration has a National Driver Registry of accidents. They receive a copy of your record if your license has been revoked or suspended. This registry is available to both you and to employers.
There are also State accident registries. Your insurance company or employer will probably check your state record first. So…if you want to find out what your record is going to show, place a request for a free copy of your record and find out.
If you are an employer needing to run driving background checks often, you might want to obtain the services of a Driving Record Background check service. This option will save you in the long run.