There are many times when you will need to check your driving record. Whether you’re looking to buy car insurance in Toronto or you’re applying for a job and an employer requires it, knowing how to check your driving record is crucial. We outline this process below.
What is a driving record in Ontario?
An Ontario driving record is a record of your driving history as a licensed driver in the province. You will have a driving record no matter what classification of driver’s licence you have, whether it's a G1, G2, or G licence. The driving history detailed on your record includes things like tickets, demerit points, accidents, and convictions, if applicable.
What is a driver's abstract in Ontario?
A driver’s abstract is very similar to a driving record. In fact, it is one of a few types of driving records you can request from the Government of Ontario. Specifically, a driver’s abstract most often refers to one’s 3-year uncertified driver’s record, which outlines your driving history over the past three years and is issued by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Other types of driving records available from the Ontario MTO include your 5-year driver’s record, your extended driver’s record, and your licence history.
The types of driving records in Ontario
Many motorists in Ontario fail to realize that there is more than one type of driving record. In fact, there are actually eight different types of driving records that you can request from the Ontario MTO. Each document contains specific information to serve a variety of purposes. The following is a list of the types of driving records that you can obtain in Ontario:
- 3-year uncertified or certified driver’s record: This is one of the most common types of driving records and it is often requested when an employer requests a copy of your record.
- Driver’s licence history: Your driver’s licence history is often requested by insurance companies when they are calculating your premium. Driver’s licence histories also show whether or not the driver completed an approved driver’s education program, which an insurance company will need to know in order to offer you a discount.
- 5-year uncertified driver’s record: This is a longer version of the 3-year uncertified driver’s record, commonly used by insurance providers to confirm a driver’s history.
- 5-year certified driver’s record: This document is usually only required if you apply for a licence in a Canadian province outside of Ontario.
- Extended driver’s record search: This may be requested as a supporting document in court if you or your vehicle are involved in a court case.
- Complete driver’s record: An insurance company may also request this, which is a driving history that goes back to when you first started driving.
- Driver’s licence check: This document simply confirms that the Ontario driver’s licence you hold is valid.
- Driver confirmation letter: As with the 5-year certified driver’s record, the driver confirmation letter is usually only required if and when you are applying for a driver’s licence in a province outside of Ontario.
Accessing driving records in Ontario
It is important to note that while you have access to your own driving record, you are not the only person who has access to it in Ontario. The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario specifically states that a person’s 3-year driving record is available upon request by multiple organizations. That said, your address will not be provided. Common entities or organizations that may request a copy of your driving record include your insurance company, which helps them calculate your premium, the police, if they stop you in traffic, and judicial services, if you or your vehicle is involved in a court case.
How to request an Ontario driving record
Do you need a copy of one or more Ontario driving record documents? Requesting a copy of your Ontario driving record is typically a relatively simple process. First, you will need to determine which type of record you need. Consult with the entity, person, or organization that is requesting the record to make sure that you request the right one. As you now know, there are eight different types of driving record documents in Ontario. Once you know which one(s) you need, visit the Service Ontario website. Nowadays, all driving records can be ordered online via this website. You can choose to receive a copy of the document electronically, meaning it will be sent to you online.
However, you can also opt to pick it up in person at a Service Ontario centre near you or have it sent to you in the mail. The next step is paying for your driving record, which can also be done online. The cost of ordering an Ontario driving record ranges. For a basic uncertified driver’s abstract, it costs $12. However, certified driver’s abstracts cost $18, and complete driving records cost more - $48 for an uncertified complete record and $54 for a certified complete record.
Where to obtain a driving record in Ontario
Depending on how you wish to obtain your driving record, these are your options: Visit a Service Ontario centre and pick up your copy in person, phone 1-900-565-6555 to order your copy by mail, or go to the Service Ontario website and request it online. You will need to provide your driver’s licence number at the time of the request.
What information do Ontario driving records contain?
Although you now know what types of driving records exist and how to request them, you may be curious as to what pieces of information can be found on driving records. While it varies slightly depending on which specific document you request, you can generally expect the following details to appear on your driving record:
- Legal name
- Date of birth
- Home address
- Driver’s licence number.
- The date when you were first licenced (beginning with your G1)
- Driver’s licence expiry date
- Driver’s licence classification, e.g. G1, G2, G
- A list of driving restrictions, such as requiring glasses, if applicable
- The status of your licence, e.g. valid or invalid
- A list of diving convictions and infractions, if applicable
- A list of traffic violations, including tickets or pending violations
- The number of demerit points you have
Depending on the driving record you order, it may provide the above details for a three-year period, a five-year period, or a period dating back to when you were first licenced.
Why do I need my driving record?
At this point, you may be wondering why you need a driving record. The reality is that there are several situations in which you will need to request a driving record in Ontario. We outline the most common ones below:
Buying car insurance
When you decide to purchase an insurance policy in Ontario, whether it is your first time buying car insurance or you are renewing an existing policy, your insurance company may request a copy of your driving record. Why? It’s no secret that driving infractions and violations, along with accidents affect car insurance rates.
Thus, when an insurance company is assessing your risk level to calculate your rates, they will need to look at your driving history. What appears in our history will ultimately be taken into account when your premium is determined. Keep in mind that clean records tend to result in lower premiums whereas records filled with accidents and other traffic violations typically result in more expensive rates.
Applying for a job
Depending on the job you are applying for, your prospective employer may request a copy of your driving record. For example, if the job you are applying for requires you to drive, whether you are delivering goods to customers or transporting materials to and from a job site, you likely need to submit a driving record along with your application.
The employer needs to know that you are a responsible driver. Examples of jobs that applicants commonly need to provide driving records for include taxi drivers, truckers, food delivery services, sales jobs, and more.
Finally, one last reason you want to request a copy of your driving record is for fun - simply to see what your record looks like. Many drivers are curious about this, especially if they recently got into an accident or incurred a traffic ticket. By requesting a copy of your driving record, you can check whether or not a certain infraction is on your record, and later on, you can check if it was removed.
Why having a clean driving record is so important
Now, let’s dive into the topic of a clean driving record. When you obtain a copy of your driving record, it will detail your driving history. Depending on the number of driving infractions, violations, and convictions you’ve incurred, your record will either be clean or not clean. So what is a clean driving record and why is it so important? Keep reading to find out:
What is a clean driving record?
A clean driving record is a record that is free from infractions, convictions, tickets, and collisions. All drivers in Ontario start out with a clean record. They become unclean when you get into an accident or get a speeding ticket. Maintaining a clean record is important, especially if you want to keep your auto insurance rates low.
Please note that you should never attempt to hide an accident from the police or your insurance company in the hopes of maintaining a clean record. Reporting a car accident is incredibly important and might even be a legal requirement, depending on the situation. There are several circumstances under which you have to report a car accident in Ontario. Reach out to BrokerLink to find out more.
How do I know if my Ontario driving record is clean?
The best way to find out if your Ontario driving record is clean is to request a copy of it. As mentioned above, this can be done online, over the phone, or in person through Service Canada’s website or service centres. That said, if you know that you have never gotten into an accident or incurred a traffic ticket, your record will be clean.
Why is having a clean driving record important?
Having a clean driving record is important for several reasons. Namely, it can impact your ability to obtain car insurance, which is mandatory in Canada, as well as your ability to get hired for a job.
An insurance agent will ask for a copy of your driving record before setting your premium and offering you coverage. When reviewing your record, they will pay particular attention to any accidents, tickets, or other citations you have racked up. This information will then be factored into their risk calculation, which helps them determine your premium. While each insurance company uses its own unique risk calculation formula, you can bet that they will take into account your driving record, which is one of the most important factors used to determine premiums. That said, how heavily it weighs certain types of violations may vary. For example, one insurer may weigh the number of claims you’ve filed more heavily than the accident you got into, whereas another might do the opposite. Further, other factors that may be used to calculate premiums include your age, gender, credit score, marital status, location, how frequently you drive your car, the type of car you drive, local laws, and more.
Having a clean driving record could increase your ability to land a job you apply for. Conversely, having a poor driving record can hurt your chances of being offered a job. While not all employers will review a candidate’s driving record, if the position requires you to drive, they likely will. If you have a bad driving record filled with infractions, they could deny you employment.
Tips to keep a clean driving record
Whether you recently got into a common car accident and are working to steer clear of any other infractions, or you currently have a clean record and want to maintain it, keep reading to learn more about how you can clean and keep your driving record clean:
Spend less time on the road
Driving less frequently is one way to reduce your odds of getting into an accident, and therefore keep your driving record clean. Try driving only when necessary and avoid driving in inclement weather conditions or hazardous road conditions. To minimize how much you drive, try carpooling, taking public transit, walking, or cycling more often. You never know, if you significantly reduce how much time you spend on the road, you may qualify for low mileage car insurance, which offers major savings. You usually have to be below a certain mileage threshold to qualify for this discount. Contact BrokerLink to find out how to calculate mileage.
Do not engage in distracted driving
Another tip to keep your record clean is to avoid driving when distracted. This means focusing on the road at all times. Put your phone away, refrain from eating or drinking while driving, and turn your attention towards the cars and road around you.
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
This should go without saying, but if you want to keep your record clean, never engage in the illegal act of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Known as impaired driving, getting a DUI conviction can have tons of negative consequences when it comes to your car insurance policy, in addition to being extremely dangerous. If you choose to drink or smoke, find another way home.
Sign up for a driver’s education course
Signing up for an approved driver’s education, driver’s training, or defensive driving course in Ontario may not only help you save money on car insurance but it can also help you maintain a clean record. Why? Attending these types of courses will help you learn a range of safe driving tips and techniques that you can then adopt to reduce your chances of getting into an accident.
Drive safely at all times
Driving safely at all times is a no-brainer if you want to keep your record clean. What does driving safely look like? Always obeying the speed limit, using your turn signals when applicable, and driving defensively. Leave space between you and other vehicles, drive slowly through construction zones or areas with lots of pedestrian traffic, and focus on the road at all times.
Check your driving record regularly
Checking your driving record regularly can also help you keep your record as clean as possible. Specifically, you should pay attention to the number of demerit points your record has, as once you reach a certain amount, there may be serious consequences, such as the suspension of your driver’s licence. Knowing how many points you have and how close you are to reaching a certain threshold may give you the wake up call you need to change your driving habits for the better.
Wait for the infraction to leave your record
If you’ve already racked up a traffic violation or multiple, then the only way for your record to be clean again may be time. Most traffic violations will get removed from your record with time. Depending on the severity of the incident, it may be eliminated from your record anywhere from three years to ten years after the fact.
Contact BrokerLink for more information on how to check your driving record
BrokerLink has a team of auto insurance specialists ready to answer all of your questions, whether you want to know how to request a driving record, whether insurance covers for towing, or if you need to call your insurance company after a minor car accident. You can trust us for all your car insurance-related needs. We can even provide you with a free car insurance quote, shop around on your behalf to find you a great policy, or help with other tasks, like renewing car insurance. Get in touch today to learn more.
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How long do infractions stay on driving records in Ontario?
This depends on the infraction, as more serious offences will stay on your record for longer. Generally speaking, you can expect an infraction to remain on your record for anywhere from three years to ten years.
What traffic violations can impact your driving record?
Traffic convictions, accidents, and driving-related crimes, like impaired or reckless driving, can all affect your driving record.
What are the consequences of a poor driving record in Ontario?
Beyond not getting the job you want or having to pay more for car insurance, there are a few other penalties you may incur if you have a particularly poor driving record. First, you could lose your driver’s licence in Ontario, either permanently or temporarily, preventing you from being able to drive. Second, you could face a wide range of expensive fines, as well as jail time if the infraction results in a criminal conviction.
If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.