Oklahoma driving record fee now highest in nation

As part of the state budget agreement, Oklahoma motor vehicle records now cost $25 apiece – the highest fee for such records in the nation. Insurance companies use the records to set rates.

BY PAUL MONIES Modified: May 29, 2010 at 12:02 am •  Published: May 29, 2010
A budget plan to more than double the price of driving records gives Oklahoma a new distinction: it now charges more than any other state.

With the passage of Senate Bill 1556, motor vehicle records will cost $25, up from $10. An additional fee of $2.50 remains for online sales by NIC Inc., the company that operates the state's website. The online charge was not raised.

The bill now goes to Gov. Brad Henry, but the increase was part of the budget agreement finalized last week between the governor and legislative leaders.

Charges for motor vehicle records vary widely nationwide, according to a compilation of rates by public records publisher BRB Publications Inc. Rhode Island charges $19.50. New Mexico provides copies of the records for free, although it does charge $4.95 if they are ordered online.

More than 20 states charge extra fees for online access to the records.

Michael Sankey, president of BRB Publications and author of several books on motor vehicle records, said a handful of states increase the fees on those records each year.

It's a money-making deal for states because the actual costs for motor vehicle records are far lower than what most states charge, he said.

The higher Oklahoma fees mean the state could make more than $30 million a year selling motor vehicle records to insurance companies, data brokers and employment verification firms. A fiscal analysis of SB 1556 prepared by legislative staff shows the increase could add $12 million to the state's general fund and $6 million to a revolving fund for the state Department of Public Safety.