A traffic violation will undoubtedly negatively affect your driving record, but it doesn’t mean that you will be blacklisted by insurance companies for your entire life just for a speeding ticket you received when you were sixteen. In general, the length of time that a traffic violation stays on your record will depend mostly on the severity of the violation. Tickets for moving violations, such as speeding tickets and illegal U-turns, as well as minor car accidents will usually stay on your driving record for three to five years from the date of the violation. Major violations, including reckless driving, drunk driving, hit and run offenses, and driving with a suspended license, will stay on your record for seven years or more depending on the nature of the offense. Some state laws require drug and alcohol offenses to permanently remain on your record.
Some states may allow you to clear your record of minor offenses if you take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. For example, if you were cited for speeding, you can usually pay the fine and attend an approved driving school to have the violation removed from your record sooner than the three to five years it would normally stay on your record. Doing so would indicate that you have taken the appropriate measures to improve your driving skills, and are actively working toward becoming a more responsible driver.
The amount of time that a violation stays on your record will affect you the most when you purchase or renew your auto insurance, since your personal driving history will play a significant role in how your insurance agent will calculate your rate. Your insurance company will always consult your driver’s record before providing you with a quote; however, not all companies will order copies for the same period of time. For example, some auto insurance companies will only review your record from the past three years, while others may review your record from the past seven years or longer. Regardless, it is usually more effective to take the necessary steps to eliminate driving violations to keep your record clean and your insurance rates low.