Improve Your Driving Skills and Maintain a Clean Driving Record
In Texas, a person dies every two hours in an auto accident; every two minutes, someone is injured in an auto accident. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that 239,539 people were injured on our roadways in 2021. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the drivers had better skills behind the wheel.
Learning to drive more safely not only helps you avoid being involved in an automobile collision, but also benefits your driving record. Drivers who fail to maintain a clean driving record face severe penalties from the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), their insurance companies, and possibly the Texas judicial system. Some drivers even lose their licenses because of multiple violations!
Each traffic violation on your Texas driver record leaves a black mark, putting you at risk for increased insurance rates, getting pulled over more often, and ultimately facing serious charges.
Your Texas driver’s license may be suspended if you are convicted of having four or more moving traffic violations within 12 months or seven or more moving traffic violations within 24 months.
If you want to avoid this situation and keep your license safe and valid, it is best to learn how to drive responsibly while keeping your record clean.
This article will help you understand how to maintain a clean record, tips for becoming a better driver, and ways to clear your driving record, like taking a defensive driving class.
Driving Records: What Are They? What Information Do They Contain?
What Is a Driving Record?
A driving record is a summary of all of your previous driving convictions and citations under state law. Driver records are maintained from the moment you get your learner’s permit and license until the day you die or cease driving.
Each state’s DMV is responsible for issuing and maintaining driver’s records. Insurers and other agencies use the information in your driving record to determine whether or not you meet their requirements.
Every time you make a mistake behind the wheel and receive a citation, such as driving with improper vehicle equipment, speeding, failing to use proper signals, or making illegal U-turns, your Texas driver’s license gets dinged and you get points on your license or record. This can happen after just one minor infraction.
However, repeating offenses can lead to additional fines and points on your license. These extra violations stay on your driving record for years and can cause problems when applying for jobs or loans.
While the driving laws vary between states, your driving record follows you anywhere in the United States. The Driver License Compact (DLC) is an interstate agreement between states in the USA which facilitates the exchange of information regarding traffic violations, license suspensions, or license revocations in other states.
Traffic violations committed in other states are treated as if they happened in your state (excluding some offenses such as parking tickets and tinted windows). The suspension of your license in one state will probably extend to any other state where you relocate.
What Does Driver’s Record Contain?
Your driver record contains several types of information. These include:
- Your name and address
- Driver’s license number
- Driver license status
- Driver’s license points
- Traffic accidents
- License classifications and endorsements
- DUI/DWI charges
- Fees and citations owed
- Fines and convictions for moving violations
- Classes are taken for defensive driving
Driving records will not contain information about non-moving violations or non-driving criminal history.
If you have violations on your driving record, they won’t last forever. Depending on the infraction, there may be a time before your conviction expires. Usually, it lasts for three to five years, depending on the offense.
For example, in Texas, a conviction for careless driving or any minor infractions takes three years to expire. On the other hand, however, a conviction for DWI stays on your record unless a judge expunges it. In addition to the violation, the associated points will appear on your record until the conviction expires.
Types of Driving Record Violations in Texas
With more than 17.6 million licensed drivers, Texas has the second highest number of traffic violations after California in the U.S. It’s not surprising that Texas is also among the most traffic citations issued annually.
Despite all these traffic laws, most citizens abide by them only partially. Here are some common types of violations that affect your driving record.
Major Violations – These include DWI (driving while intoxicated), DUIs (driving under the influence), reckless driving, hit and run, and other serious crimes that can be dangerous and negatively affect your motor vehicle record. The points from these violations often take longer to expire than others.
Document Violations – For instance, failure to carry proof of insurance, license, or registration can result in negative points on your driving record.
Moving Violations – Violations like cell phone use while driving, speeding, failure to stop, passing a school bus, disobeying railroad crossing signs, and at-fault accident cases impact your driving record.
Mechanical Violations – Driving a car with faulty tail lights, defective brakes, inoperative indicators or headlamps, broken mirrors, damaged windshields, missing hubcaps, and other mechanical issues can also mean a citation and affect your status as a safe driver.
Minor Violations – These include not wearing a seat belt, parking in disabled spaces, not displaying inspection stickers, and other minor infractions that affect your driving record. Even though these do not affect your privileges, it’s better to be on the safe side and comply.
Order Your Driving Record Today!
When you order your driving record online, you’ll find more details about what kind of violation you’ve gotten and how long it will remain on your record. You also get a complete list of every citation, fine, and related information in your file.
TX-DPS is an authorized third-party service provider for obtaining records in Texas. When you order from us, you avoid the unnecessary hassle of taking time out of your day to travel to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and stand in line for hours, then wait weeks to receive your driving record.
Whether or not you think there are any points on your license, it is always good practice to check your driving record every so often and after every incident is resolved. This way, you will know your driving record is up to date and accurate.
A clean driving record will get you off the radar screen of law enforcement officials and make driving safer for everyone. The best way to do this is to keep it clean, stay out of trouble and pay attention when you’re behind the wheel.
In order to get better behind the wheel, here are some tips that you should follow:
Clean Driving Record: 10 Tips to Become a Better Driver
Your driving skill and your driving record go hand in hand. When you’re behind the wheel, you want to maintain good habits so you don’t get into trouble or become a danger to other road users. If you follow these tips, you’ll improve your driving skills and will be better able to keep your record clean.
1. Get to Know Your Vehicle
Being a better driver begins with understanding your vehicle. You must inspect it regularly to keep tabs on its condition and ensure everything works fine.
Before switching on the ignition: check if your seat and mirrors are properly positioned. Make sure your headlights and taillights work properly. Pay special attention to your tires and brake pads. Be familiar with your engine functions. Knowing how your car performs makes you confident about your driving ability.
2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Keep yourself alert and aware of what’s going on around you. Never drift out of your lane, watch your speed limit, and observe the road conditions. Make sure you’re able to react quickly if something goes wrong. Being conscious of your surroundings helps you avoid accidents and keeps you safe while driving.
3. Maintain Safe Distance
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions are responsible for almost 23% of all motor accidents. A large portion of these crashes involved drivers who were following too closely.
Tailgating is one of the biggest traffic offenses and can lead to 3 demerit points on your driver records. In addition to being annoying, this habit puts you and other drivers in danger.
To keep a safe distance, leave at least 3 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid sudden acceleration or braking because these maneuvers could cause an accident.
4. Limit Distractions
Distracted driving accounts for nearly one in five crashes on Texas roads. Distractions may jeopardize your safety and the safety of other people on the road, whether you’re talking on the phone, texting, eating, grooming, or having a conversation.
Always give driving your full attention, so you’re ready to take action whenever necessary. If you find yourself distracted, pull over immediately and take care of any business before getting back on the roadway.
5. Follow Traffic Rules
Violating the rules of the road is a common cause of fatal accidents. These violations include speeding, running red lights, making improper turns, parking illegally, failing to yield right of way, and many others.
Knowing the traffic laws will help you stay safe behind the wheel and keep points off your driving record. By obeying the rules and regulations set by state authorities, you become part of an organized system.
Texas Transportation Code spans more than a thousand chapters and deals with various aspects of transportation. Drivers should understand the codes and the consequences of breaking them.
6. Practice Defensive Driving
Practicing defensive driving gives you the confidence to handle unexpected situations safely. Be aware of what other drivers are doing and pay close attention to details such as weather conditions, obstacles, road signs, etc.
Assume other motorists are unpredictable and act accordingly. Take advantage of blind spots, turn signals, and other warning indicators. Use cruise control to maintain a consistent pace. Keep at least a 3-second distance between you and the car in front of you, and more if the weather is bad.
7. Don’t Drink and Drive
In 2021, 24% of fatal accidents involved alcohol. That statistic alone should convince you to abstain from drinking while operating a vehicle.
Alcohol consumption impairs judgment, decision-making abilities, coordination, perception, and reaction times. In addition, it lowers inhibitions and increases aggressive impulses.
DUI offenses are punishable by fines, jail time, license suspension, and expensive legal fees.
8. Know State Traffic Laws
While some basic driving rules are standard across all states, each state has its unique laws when it comes to the more detailed aspects of driving.
It’s vital that you know the driving laws of the state where you drive. Check the rules when you enter the driver’s seat to travel through another state.
It’s a good idea to visit the official website of your local DMV to get acquainted with state requirements.
9. Stay Calm and Patient
Understandably, traffic incidents can be stressful. However, staying calm and relaxed is key to avoiding further problems. If the person behind you cuts you off or tailgates you, remain patient.
If someone honks continuously or flashes bright lights, try not to panic. Instead, slow down, move around, or signal your intentions.
Do not allow your emotions to take over or make rash decisions. You might miss signs, ignore emergency vehicles, or run stoplights, which could lead to an accident.
10. Strive for Excellence
Being able to complete your daily commute without incident can only come after years of practice. As long as you learn how to maneuver intersections correctly, obey speed limits, and avoid distractions, you can succeed in becoming a great driver.
Always strive to get better and learn from others’ mistakes, but don’t forget about maintaining a positive attitude toward improving your driving skills.
With these guidelines in hand, you’ll be on your way to being considered a safe, responsible, and professional driver!
Every time you get behind the wheel, you take responsibility for yourself and other people on the road. Practicing safe driving habits will help you keep your record clean without taking on too many tickets. A clean driving record is one of the best ways to prove your commitment to safety on the road.
What Is a Clean Driving Record?
A clean record means your driving history has no moving violations, no accidents, no DUI/DWI arrests, and no points from the past three or more years.
The length of time something remains on your record depends on what type of infraction(s) apply. You must be aware that even though a specific infraction is over, the point value remains on your record until it expires.
Examples of aspects of a clean driving record would be:
- No moving traffic violations
- No at-fault accidents
- No DWI convictions
- No points from the past three or more years
Why Is It Essential to Have a Clean Driving Record?
A driving record is one of the main factors influencing your insurance rates and other important matters.
- With a clean record, you will receive lower quotes, your premiums will stay low, and you may even qualify for a good driver discount.
- A safe driving record reduces your risk of license suspension or revocation by your state’s DMV.
- You can even benefit professionally from having a record of being a safe driver behind the wheel; many employers consider this when hiring, especially if the job involves driving.
- Having a clean driving record can keep you from being dragged into court over an incident where someone else was at fault. You may be held responsible for another driver’s actions if you don’t have a clear record. This could lead to legal expenses and even jail time.
Getting Clean Driving Record With Defensive Driving
Since your driving record affects many things, such as insurance rates, employment, and professional licenses, it makes sense to maintain a clean driving record. If you commit multiple offenses, your driver’s license might be suspended. You cannot drive legally until the violation has been cleared.
To maintain a clean driving record, you need to ensure there are no moving violations, accidents, DUIs, or points on your driving record. The best way to clear your record is by taking a defensive driving course.
With defensive driving training, you will learn how to deal with everyday situations on the road that will help you avoid road hazards and reduce your chances of committing a traffic violation.
In Texas, taking a 6-hour defensive driving course may also help you dismiss a traffic ticket or reduce points from your Texas driving records.
Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course
The Texas motor vehicle traffic crash statistics indicate that distracted driving contributed to 433 deaths in 2021. Lack of hazard detection, low-risk perception, and reckless behavior are frequently identified as major contributing factors to accidents.
The goal of an approved defensive driving program is to prevent accidents by trying to anticipate hazardous situations and adjusting driver behavior to compensate.
A defensive driving course is specifically designed to educate drivers of all ages on how to reduce their risk of injury and avoid accidents. They teach proper vehicle handling techniques and provide ways to react if other vehicles cause an issue during conditions such as changing traffic signals, merging onto highways, unexpected obstacles, etc.
By teaching about different types of situations that could occur on the roads, these courses aim to improve their reaction times and decision-making skills.
Besides improving one’s own driving skills, a defensive driving course also provides benefits like insurance discounts or even getting out of tickets.
- Your insurance company may offer discounts to those who completed defensive driving classes. If you qualify for the discount, most Texas insurance providers will reduce your monthly bill by 2% to 10%, valid for three years. Just make sure to check with your insurance provider if this is available for you!
- Your court may dismiss your case and/or lower the amount of your fine if you complete the required hours of classroom training.
- You can remove one point from your driving record if you successfully pass the TDLR-approved defensive driving course.
TX-DPS Offers a TDLR Approved Defensive Driving Course
Whether you want to improve your driving skills, prevent future citations, enhance your driver’s license, or eliminate old offenses, our online defensive driving course is designed to achieve these goals.
The defensive driving course from TX-DPS has been meticulously designed and is now available entirely online. Now you can obtain an insurance discount or leniency from the Texas courts from the comfort of your own home!
At only $25, our program is approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) and is accepted by all Texas courts. Get started now!
Our online defensive driving course has the following advantages:
- Learn anywhere, anytime
- Learn at your own pace
- Highly interactive
- Quick certificate delivery
Drivers can take this course once every 12 months; however, specific requirements must be met for traffic citations to be dismissed.
To dismiss a traffic ticket in Texas, you must meet the below conditions:
- The traffic citation you received was issued to you while driving a noncommercial vehicle.
- You haven’t taken a defensive driving course in Texas in the past year.
- You hold a valid Texas driver’s license and liability insurance.
- You have entered a plea of “no contest.”. If you plead “not guilty,” you cannot enroll in the Texas driver safety course.
- Your speeding ticket was for less than 25 mph over the limit.
Defensive driving courses can dismiss most minor traffic citations. However, there are some violations that a defensive driving course in Texas CANNOT dismiss:
- Speeding at or more than 25 MPH over the posted speed limit.
- Driving at a speed of 95 mph or more.
- Not having auto insurance.
- Leaving the scene of an accident.
- Passing a school bus.
- Getting infractions in construction zones.
Before taking the course for moving violations, it is highly recommended to contact your local municipal court and check if your ticket can be dismissed. Otherwise, you may receive a citation with additional fines or penalties.
If you are eligible to take a defensive driving class, you must complete it before the deadline imposed by the court. Upon completion of the defensive driving course, you can submit the course completion certificate with a current driving record to the State of Texas website (both are available from TX-DPS). After submission to the DMV, it will result in the dismissal of your ticket and points from your record.
A Clean Driving Record Pays Off in the Long Run
A clean driving record is a valuable asset and they are not temporary. As long as you drive, they will reflect your habits behind the wheel. Even if you cause a wreck when you are 16 years old, you may have to pay higher insurance rates in your 30s. It is, therefore, vital that you get into good driving habits early on and learn to drive safely.
If you want to maintain a clean driving record, be prepared for surprises along the way. There may come a time when something unexpected happens. Don’t panic if this occurs. Instead, take responsibility for your actions and learn how to handle difficult situations effectively. You can put in the effort to hone these skills with a defensive driving course.
Contact TX-DPS for Texas Driver Records and Defensive Driving Courses
It’s important for drivers to keep track of their Texas driving record and their history of moving violations or other infractions. Driving records are routinely accessed by insurance providers and employers. A driver with a good driving record will find it easier to secure a favorable auto insurance rate and prevent job loss due to poor driving history.
TX-DPS makes it easy to check your driving record, obtain current information about your license status, and view additional details related to your history. You can order your Texas driving record online or speak to one of our experienced agents for help.
If you want to enhance your driving abilities or fast ticket dismissal on your moving violation, our online driving school is a TDLR-approved defensive driving course that can reduce points on your Texas license. We work with state-certified instructors who will teach you the best ways to improve your skills behind the wheel.
Our goal at TX-DPS is to provide you with the most convenient experience while working with you to develop practical defensive driving strategies. Whether you need to brush up on your driving skills or clear out some of your old tickets, we have all the resources available to assist you.
Call us at 888-596-7307 or fill out the contact form to inquire about our services.