How to Get a Driver's Abstract

by Jackie Lohrey

A driver’s abstract is similar to, but not the same as, a driving record. Unlike a driving record, which may include up to 10 years of information, an abstract generally includes information from the past three years. And an abstract does not include sensitive information, such as your Social Security number. Employers and insurance companies typically request an abstract as a risk assessment tool.

State Law Variations and Privacy Considerations

State laws specify the process for obtaining a driver’s abstract. While the process might be similar from state to state, check with your state’s motor vehicle department for specific requirements. For example, fees and privacy considerations may be different. In many states, an insurance company, an employer or anyone else requesting an abstract will need the driver’s written consent. However, in other states, such as Hawaii, consent may only be necessary if the driver is a juvenile.

Requirements

To get a driver’s abstract, you’ll need a request form, your information or information about the driver in question and, if necessary, a written consent form. A request form typically requires a full legal name and contact information, date of birth and driver’s license number. In addition, a business or individual requesting another person’s driver’s abstract may need to state the reason for making the request, as most will only give this information to qualified companies or individuals.

Access Options and Costs

Most states accept requests for a driver’s abstract either in person or by postal mail. You can get the abstract immediately if you make the request in person. The waiting period for a mail request is normally 14 to 21 business days. Because most motor vehicle departments do accept credit or debit cards, and many do not accept personal checks, the most common payment method is cash, a certified check or a money order.

Alternative Options

Many states provide a free online alternative to a comprehensive driver’s abstract. For example, in Ohio, anyone can get a modified version of an abstract from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s website. The report will show all convictions within the past two years, including information about open suspensions or driver’s license revocations. Input requirements for a free online report include the person’s name, driver’s license number, date of birth and Social Security number.

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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