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Washington Public Driving Records

The Washington State Department of Licensing (Washington DOL) is the government agency in charge of driver records, and this office issues them upon request. They act like a DMV in other states. However, they require strict adherence to Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws.

The state offers four different records for various purposes. They allow people to get them online or through the mail. Insurance companies may use these records when setting insurance rates. Employers may use driver records when doing a background check.

The WA driver records do contain personal information such as the driver's full name, social security number, driver's license number, and date of birth. They also include driving offenses and convictions, accident history, driver license status, revocations, suspensions, and cancellations.

How to Request a Copy of Your Washington Driving History

The state offers a couple of different ways to get a copy of someone's driving history. First, they have an online system called License eXpress. Users can purchase a copy and print it. It will remain available on the system for 30 days and then expire.

The other way to get records is to fill out a records request and mail it in with payment to:

Driver Records, Department of Licensing
PO Box 3907
Seattle, WA 98124-3907

Purchases by mail may take up to 10 days to process.

Motor Vehicle Records Cost

All driving records in the state cost $13 each. The state offers four main types. When ordering through the mail, the requestor can pay with a check or money order. When buying them online, they can use a credit card or debit card.

Driving Laws in the State

Anyone 15 & 1/2 years or older can apply for a Washington Learner's Permit. Anyone 16 or 17 years old may apply for their Intermediate Driver's License. That license comes with restrictions. Someone 16 or 17 is eligible to apply for their Standard Driver License which is unrestricted.

To get an instructional permit, the driver must:

  • Be at least 15-1/2 years old (or 15 years old if enrolled in an approved driver-training course
  • Pass the knowledge test (unless enrolled in an approved driver-training course)
  • Complete the vision and medical screenings
  • Pay an application/examination fee

Anyone under the age of 18 requires parental or guardian approval.

To get an Intermediate License, the driver must:

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 18 years old
  • Show us proof that you have passed an approved driver-training course with at least 30 hours of classroom and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction
  • Get the consent of your parent or guardian
  • Pass the medical and vision screenings, the knowledge test,
  • Have had an instruction permit for at least six months
  • Show us that your parent or guardian certifies you have had at least 50 hours of driving experience, including 10 hours at night, which you gained while a licensed driver with at least five years of licensed driving experience supervised you
  • Not have been issued a traffic ticket that is pending when you apply for your license
  • Not have been convicted of and must not have been found to have committed a traffic violation within the last six months before the day you apply for your license
  • Not have been convicted of and must not have been found to have committed an offense involving the use of alcohol or drugs while you had an instruction permit
  • Provide your Social Security number, which we will verify when you apply for a driver license (42 USC 405 and 666(a) (13), RCW 26.23.150). If you have not been issued a number, you can sign a Social Security Number Declaration

The Intermediate License comes with the following restrictions:

  • You cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you are with a parent, a guardian, or a licensed driver who is at least 25 years old
  • For the first six months, no passenger under the age of 20 may be with you while you drive unless that person is a member of your immediate family and the driving test
  • For the remaining time, no more than three passengers under the age of 20 may be with you while you drive unless they are members of your immediate family
  • May not use a cell phone or other wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle unless the holder is using the device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help, or prevent injury to a person or property

To get a Standard Driver License, the driver must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Show us acceptable proof of identity and age
  • Provide your Social Security number, which we will verify when you apply for a driver license (42 USC 405 and 666(a) (13), RCW 26.23.150). If you have not been issued a number, you can sign a Social Security Number Declaration
  • Show us acceptable proof of Washington State residence
  • Pay an application/examination fee
  • Pass the medical and vision screenings, the knowledge test, and the driving test
  • Turn in any other driver licenses
  • Not have a currently suspended, revoked, or cancelled driving privilege
  • Pay the licensing fee

Some other driving laws in the state include:

"If you operate a motor vehicle registered in this state, you must have liability insurance and carry proof that you have such insurance. Drivers of government vehicles, mopeds, and common or contract carrier vehicles are exempt from this insurance requirement."

  • Infants and children under two must use a child safety restraint system in the rear-facing position
  • Children under four who have outgrown the height and weight recommendations of the child safety seat manufacture for rear-facing must continue to use a child safety restraint system in the forward-facing position
  • Children four or older, until they are 4'9" tall and can properly fit the vehicle lap and shoulder belt with lap belt across their lap with knees fully bent at the end of seat and shoulder belt coming across the shoulder and not the neck, must use a booster seat. They should not move to a seat belt before they are ready per height and age, typically between 8 and 12 years
  • The restraint system must be used exactly and according to BOTH the safety seat AND vehicle manufacturer's instructions
  • Move Over/Slow Down law: When passing emergency response vehicles on the side of the road with flashing lights activated, move over one lane if possible, and if not, then reduce your speed to 10 mph below the posted speed limit. Emergency response vehicles include law enforcement, fire/ambulance, incident response, highway maintenance, utility, solid waste, and tow trucks
  • Traffic control devices include traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings, and roundabouts. Traffic control also can be provided by law enforcement, highway construction or maintenance personnel, or school crossing guards
  • Work zones and emergency work crews with flashing lights – Crews in work zones require extra caution as travelers pass by. Motorists must obey all directions and reduce speeds in any marked work zone – for the safety of crews and everyone on the roadway. Traffic fines can double in a work zone area
  • Vehicles equipped with lap-only seat belts are exempt from the requirement to use a booster seat
  • Children who have reached the maximum recommended weight of the booster seat manufacturer or are at least 4'9" who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a child safety restraint
  • You must get a Washington State driver license within 30 days of the date you become a resident
  • You may not need to take the knowledge test or the driving test if your out-of-state license is valid when you apply for a Washington license. If you are under 18, you must show proof that you have completed a driver-training course meeting Washington State standards before we will issue a Washington intermediate driver license
  • If you are a non-resident or a short-term visitor, you can operate a motor vehicle in this state if you have a valid driver license from your home state, province, territory, or country and you are at least 16 years old

When holding a first license, the penalties for driving infractions are the worst. They are as follows:

  • First violation – the passenger and nighttime restrictions are extended until age 18, and a warning letter is sent to you and your parent or guardian if you receive a ticket for violating the restrictions or any other traffic law or you are involved in a collision where:
    • you receive a ticket
    • you are determined to have caused the collision. – no one involved in the collision receives a ticket. – no one was found to cause the collision
    • only your car was involved in the collision
  • Second violation – you are suspended for six months (or until age 18 if that comes first)
  • Third violation – you are suspended until age 18. You and your parent, or guardian, are notified before any suspension action is taken

Although the state does not have an official license points system, they do keep track of violations. If someone accumulates six moving violations in 12 months or seven over 24 months, they will lose their license for 60 days and spend a year on probation.

Different Types of Driving Reports in the State

The state uses four main types of driver records for different purposes. Each is explained below:

Alcohol/Drug Assessment

This report covers the last ten years and is used by chemical dependency agencies.

Employment Record (for employment purposes)

Employers, volunteer organizations use this report and transit authorities to determine eligibility.

Insurance Record

The insurance record covers the last three years and is used to create and renew life, vehicle, and commercial vehicle insurance policies.

Full Driving Record

A complete driving record is provided to the person named on the record.

Criminal Driving Offenses

Criminal driving offenses in the state are serious moving violations that risk someone's life. The punishments are high fines, jail or prison time, and the loss of license. Some examples include:

  • Reckless driving
  • Vehicular manslaughter
  • DUI/DWI
  • Hit and run
  • Evading an officer

Civil Driving Offenses

Civil driving offenses are far less serious and usually only result in a traffic ticket. Some examples include:

  • Running a red light
  • Illegal parking
  • Failure to yield
  • Driving without plates
  • Not stopping at a stop sign

State Department of Motor Vehicles Driving Records Statistics

The state keeps track of all driving data to improve roadway safety. Some interesting statistics from that data include:

  • Most (53%) driving fatalities in the state are due to impairment
  • Other top causes for fatal auto accidents are lane departure, distracted driving, and young drivers
  • There were 513 fatal accidents in 2019
  • July is the month with the most accidents
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday have the most accidents
  • King County has the most accidents in the state

Driver License Record Search Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about state driving records.

Who Can Get a Copy of Your Driving Record?

Anyone who can show just legal cause can get a copy of your driving history. However, they will need a signed consent form from you in many cases and must comply with strict DPPA laws.

Can I Use the Online System to Get Driving Records?

Yes. The state has a License eXpress system set up for this very purpose.

What Information Do I Need to Get a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)?

When ordering a copy of your own report, you will need your name, address, date of birth, and Washington driver's license number.

Does the State Use a Points System?

No, but they do keep track of moving violations. Anyone who earns too many in a 12- or 24-month period will lose their license for 60 days and must spend a year on probation. Some people are ordered to take a defensive driving course.

How Do I Reinstate My License?

On the eXpress website, the state has step-by-step instructions on how you can get your license reinstated after a suspension. The basic steps include:

  • Provide us with a proof of financial responsibility (SR-22) insurance certificate
  • Apply for a new license.
    • You'll be required to pay a $75 reissue fee in addition to your other licensing fees

Helpful State Driving Record Links

Below are some helpful state driving record links.

Disclaimer: The materials presented here are for informational purposes only. The information is taken from state and local resources, and is current as of the most recent site update. Changes made by state and local departments and agencies after our latest update may render some information and fees outdated, and may cause links to break and forms to be unavailable. Infotracer strongly encourages you to visit the relevant state and local resources to ensure you have the most recent information.