Tennessee Driving Record

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In Tennessee, a driving record is usually referred to as a motor vehicle record (MVR) and includes 3 to 10 years of information. You can get a copy online, in person, or by mail from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security for $5.
A clean driving record is the best way to avoid license suspensions, revocation, and high insurance rates. Your rates could increase as much as 300%, depending on the amount and severity of the infractions. 
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Here are a few tips for understanding your Tennessee driving record. 

What is a driving record?

A driving record—or motor vehicle record (MVR)—is a complete history of you as a driver. In Tennessee, it includes 3 to 10 years of information, including violations, license suspensions, and demerit points.

How do I access my driving record in Tennessee?

Request your individual Tennessee driving record online, through mail, or in person at a Driver Services Center.
To request your record online, you will need: 
  • Personal information (name, date of birth, social security number)
  • Tennessee driver’s license number
  • $5 payment (check, credit card, or debit card—prepaid cards are not accepted)
  • A computer to save your document
To order your record in person, you will need: 
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • TN driver’s license number
  • $5 payment (check, credit card, or debit card—prepaid cards are not accepted)
To order your record at a Driver Services Center you will need:
  • $5 payment (cashier's check or money order payable to Tennessee Dept. of Safety)
  • Driver name, birth date, and TN driver’s license number
  • Allow two weeks from the mailing date to receive the driver record

Requesting a driving record for someone else

Tennessee allows authorized agencies or individuals to obtain your MVR with a notarized statement authorizing that person to access the record.
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Where else can I find my driving record in Tennessee?

Apart from the Department of Safety, you can access your record through a car insurance agent or online third party.

Car insurance agents

Car insurance companies may request your Tennessee driving record to determine your rates and eligibility for renewal. If you ask them for a copy, they’ll likely be happy to hand one over for free. Note that it will not be a certified or official copy of your driving record.

Online third-party vendors

If you don’t need a certified copy of your driving record, you can obtain an unofficial copy through online third-party vendors. While using a third-party vendor will get you a copy of your driving record quickly, it may cost more and may not be as accurate as going through the state department.

What is on my record?

Your driving record consists of details about you and your driving history. The basic record in Tennessee typically includes:
  • Your driving history
  • Past driving violations
  • Traffic accidents
  • Driver’s license suspensions
  • Driving record points 

DMV points in Tennessee

Tennessee adds demerit points to your MVR after violations, which can lead to fines, suspensions, and higher insurance rates. If you accrue 12 or more points, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 to 12 months
Some common offenses where points are assessed include: 
  • Driving without a license (2 points)
  • Making an improper turn (3 points)
  • Failure to yield right of way (4 points)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (5 points)
  • Reckless driving (6 points)
  • Contributing to the occurrence of a crash resulting in casualties (8 points)
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How can my driving record affect me?

Your driving record impacts multiple aspects of your life. 

Your insurance premium

The average cost of basic liability car insurance in Tennessee is on par with the national average. But if you have a poor record, insurance companies will consider you a higher risk and you’ll certainly be paying more for your coverage.

Your ability to drive

Points are not added if you are convicted of DUI, but your license is automatically suspended for one year. Drunk driving penalties can also include:
  • A jail sentence of 48 hours to 150 days
  • Fines of $350 to $15,000
  • Court-ordered license revocation of 1 to 5 years
  • Forfeiture of your car
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol or drug treatment program
  • Use of an ignition interlock device
The severity of the consequences is based on how many DUI offenses you have incurred. 

Your credit rating

While your record itself does not impact your credit score, your credit score influences your ability to obtain good rates for car insurance. And the financial fallout from a DUI, personal injury claims, or unpaid medical bills from an accident can force you into bankruptcy. 

Your job prospects

Some employers conduct a background check before offering you a job, your driving record could be part of that. If you want to be a firefighter, police officer, or delivery driver, a spotty record may disqualify you from consideration.
Key Takeaway Your driving record is more than just a document. It can have a significant impact on other areas of your life—so it’s in your best interest to keep it as clean as possible.

What is the difference between driving records in each state?

The state where you reside holds your driver’s license and driving record. So if you live in Tennessee, the state of Tennessee will hold your driving record.
Tennessee is one of only five states that are not members of the Driver’s License Compact (DLC), an interstate agreement for the exchange of data about moving violations of non-residents. 
Other states that are not part of the DLC are:
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Wisconsin
That does not mean you are off the hook for offenses committed in another state. 
Under the National Driver Registry—which is valid in all 50 states—any state that suspends a driver’s license must enter it into the Registry’s database. When you go to renew or apply for your license, the Tennessee driver service center will check the registry’s database and deny the license if there is an out-of-state suspension.
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