New York Public Traffic Records

New York Public Traffic Records

New York public traffic records, also referred to as driving records, are comprehensive documentation of a persons’ driving history. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) creates and maintains these official documents to summarize notable information pertaining to road use as motorists. This includes personally-identifying information of individuals, records of traffic law violations, accident reports, and points accrued due to traffic law violations.

The DMV, insurance companies, and employers use a New York public traffic record to get an overview of a person’s driving safety and competency. The DMV uses the records to decide what residents should be allowed to drive. In contrast, insurance companies use traffic records to determine what premium to charge based on safety history. Meanwhile, employers use the traffic records to verify identity during background checks and identify the competency of potential company drivers.

A New York public traffic record typically provides a five-year summary of a person’s driving history. The traffic records may also contain information about violations committed over five years ago if the violation was severe, such as a felony offense.

Are Traffic Records Public in New York?

Yes, traffic records in New York are public information under the Freedom of Information Act. However, the accessibility to these traffic files is protected under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), a federal law regulating how driver information may be accessed and shared. Personal identifying information in a traffic record is not obtainable without the owner’s consent. This includes photographs, social security number, client identification number, name, telephone number, medical information, and disability details of the bearer. Only entities eligible to use such personal information under the DPPA may access it.

What do New York Traffic Records Contain?

A typical New York traffic record has multiple sections, with each section bearing a particular type of information;

The Header:

This section contains various identifying information about the motorist, including the name, mailing address, mailing county, the DMV ID number, the motorist ID, the date of birth, height, sex, and eye color.

The Summary:

The summary section contains a brief overview of the driver’s status as a motorist, detailing the motorist’s license class, license status, license expiration date, a license suspension, revocation summary, and any altering factors affecting the motorist’s driving privilege.

The Activity:

The activity section spells out relevant driver’s license information, including completing any driver-license-related course, a Commercial Driver Licence history, license reciprocity information, and other license-related information.

Suspensions and Revocations:

This part of the report contains information about any suspension or revocation action (both past and present), including the reason for suspension/revocation, the date of effect, the order number, the date, and the reason for clearance of a suspension/revocation.

Convictions and Bail Forfeitures:

This section of the record shows convictions for vehicular offenses the motorist has committed, detailing the type of violation, the date of the violation, the date of the conviction, the location, fine amount, and any points incurred.


This section summarizes the accidents the motorist has been in, showing the date of the accident if the was a fatality, personal injury, or property damage, the county where the accident occurred, and the case number.

Does a Citation Go on Your Record in New York?

Yes. Most traffic citations resulting from traffic law violations reflect on the motorist’s record. However, it only comes up if the motorist is convicted of the offense for which the citation was issued. This is usually shown under the convictions and bails forfeiture section of the record. Nevertheless, citations for non-moving violations do not go on driver’s records.

Types of Traffic Citations in New York

There are two types of traffic citations in New York, with each citation indicating the severity of an offense. These are the traffic infraction citations and misdemeanor citations. An officer of the law issues traffic infraction citations for minor traffic offenses that are not criminal. Some of these infractions are tailgating, speeding, or running a red light. On the other hand, law enforcement officers issue misdemeanor citations for more severe offenses which carry significant penalties. These traffic violations are DUIs, reckless driving, and driving without proper registration.

New York Traffic Citation Lookup

The means of looking up a traffic citation in New York is dependent on the type of citation. For instance, the Traffic Violations Bureau, a Department of Motor Vehicles division, processes non-criminal traffic citations (except parking violations) received within New York City alone. These types of traffic citations are referred to as TVB citations and may be available on the website of DMV.

Other traffic citations motorists receive in New York are handled by the traffic courts in the counties in which the violations occurred. These citations are usually accessible on the court's website handling the case. Therefore, interested parties may look up the traffic citations by visiting the appropriate courthouses or checking their online repository. Some third-party websites also provide tools for looking up traffic citations in the state.

How to Lookup my New York Traffic Records

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles provides access to traffic records, and interested individuals may request to view these files. Requestors may obtain either the standard driving record, the lifetime driving record, or the commercial driving records from the DMV. To look up any of these traffic records, inquirers may be physically present at the DMV Office in person, check online, or send a mail to the DMV.

However, online access is only possible through the MyDMV website. Meanwhile, a user must create an account and provide verification using a current New York State driver's license, permit, or non-driver ID. Upon registration, the user may obtain a PDF version of the requested traffic record. Notably, it costs $7 to use this service. Mail and in-person inquiries require the completion of a Request for Driving Record Information Form, proof of identity, and a $10 fee.

Nevertheless, the fee paid for any driving record search is non-refundable, even if the search comes up with empty results. Some third-party websites and organizations also offer New York traffic records to members of the public.

New York Traffic Violations

A traffic violation in New York is a moving violation of the state's vehicle and traffic laws.

Some common traffic violations in New York include speeding, running a red light, and DUI/DWI.

If convicted of a traffic violation, the offender will likely have to pay a fine and may also receive points on their driver's license. In some cases, offenders may be required to attend traffic school or have their license suspended or revoked.

New York License Plate Lookup

Interested persons may look up New York license plates by searching the state's database of registered vehicles. The search will return the registered owner of the vehicle and contact information for the owner. The database can be searched online or by mail.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for maintaining the database of registered vehicles in the state. The DMV website offers a searchable database on its website. The search can be conducted by Plate Number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), or Registration State.

Requestors may also mail a request to:

New York Department of Motor Vehicles
Driver Records Unit
P.O. Box 2601
Albany, NY 12220-0601

Requestors will be required to include the following information in their request:

  • Their name, address, and telephone number
  • The complete license plate number
  • The vehicle make, model, and year
  • The reason for your request

A fee of $5.00 will be charged for each search. The requestor must check or money order payable to the "Commissioner of Motor Vehicles." However, the DMV may take up to 60 days to process your request.

How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in New York

The Offices of the Clerk in the courts that hear traffic cases create and maintain related records in New York. Therefore, all requests for traffic case records should be directed to these offices. As specified under Section 8016 of Article 80 of Chapter 8 of the Consolidated Laws of New York, the Clerk Offices may charge a fee for any requested case record, which implies that traffic case records may not be viewed for free in New York.

How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in New York

The duration for which a traffic offense may remain on a public record in New York is specified in Section 201 of Article 2 of Chapter 71 of the Consolidated Laws of New York. The period for which offenses remain on public record is determined based on the severity of the offense and the type of license held by the motorist committing the violation. Grave traffic offenses stay longer or permanently.

Whereas most minor violations appear on the driving record only four years before being cleared, so are accidents. On the other hand, drunk driving offenses remain on a New York driving record for 15 years. Violations such as commercial drivers refusing to submit to a chemical test stay for 55 years. Any conviction arising from using a motor vehicle to commit a felony involving manufacturing, distribution, or dispensing a controlled substance is displayed permanently.

How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in New York

Traffic records are public information that is accessible on the databases of government entities and may also be available on third-party websites. Removing such public information from public websites is not possible, as such public records cannot be sealed, and in the specific instances in which they can, they may not be sealed in their totality.

While the information of people present in such records is protected under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, which limits the extent to which the personal information may be viewed, it does not eliminate access to the files. Concerned parties may petition third-party websites that show traffic records to hide such information, but there is no legal responsibility on such a website.

Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in New York?

Yes, motoring offenses may affect criminal records in New York. Motoring offenses are classified into one of two types: civil or criminal traffic offenses. Civil offenses are minor violations of traffic laws, which, while regarded as offenses, are not criminal. In addition, civil offenses are primarily traffic infractions that carry mild penalties such as fine payment.

Contrastingly, criminal motoring offenses are serious traffic violations that attract severe consequences. Criminal motoring offenses are classed as either misdemeanor offenses or felony offenses. These offenses carry stiff penalties such as imprisonment and hefty fine payments and are included in a person’s criminal record if a conviction occurs.

Examples of criminal motoring offenses include vehicular manslaughter and negligent homicide. A criminal motoring offense also reflects on a person’s driving record and is usually apparent for more extended periods than the four years for minor offenses, and some stay permanently.