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Guide To Florida MVR & Driving Record Checks

Florida employers may use a Florida driving record as part of their hiring process to help verify a candidate’s qualifications. As with other types of background checks – such as criminal history and employment verification – employers conducting a Florida MVR must follow federal, state, and local laws to ensure compliance. 

A Florida driving record, also known as a motor vehicle report (MVR), can help provide employers with important information that goes beyond a candidate’s resume or application to gain insight into a candidate’s driving history to help determine if they are a safe driver. 

Reviewing a Florida MVR report is especially important for positions where the candidate will operate a motor vehicle as part of their job. Plus, knowing a candidate’s driving history can help your organization reduce liability and keep insurance premiums down. 

What Is A Florida Driving Record?

A Florida driving record reveals various aspects of a person’s driving history in the state, which may include the candidate’s license status, DUIs, moving and non-moving violations, and crash reports. A MVR check in Florida may also include a person’s driving restrictions, such as time of day they are permitted to drive, along with records of traffic school completions and any exam results. 

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Types of Florida Driving Records

There are three types of motor vehicle reports in Florida:

  • 3-year driving record: This report contains three years of driver history and includes driver license and ID card issuances; exam and driver education records; traffic violations and crashes; license status information; and certain types of other correspondence relevant to a person’s Florida driving history. 
  • 7-year driving record: This report includes the same information as the 3-year driver records but goes back for seven years. 
  • Complete driving record: This report goes back approximately 11 years and includes all of the information contained in both the 3-year and 7-year driver record, plus additional information such as traffic infractions omitted from a person’s 3- and 7-year driver history as a result of completing traffic school.

In some cases, you may also be able to request copies of Florida crash reports which are maintained by the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) Florida Crash Portal. These reports provide details on accidents and other incidents. 

Florida Traffic Violations

In Florida, when someone breaks a traffic law, or commits a traffic violation, they will either be charged with a Uniform Traffic Citation, also called a ticket, or in more serious cases, a crime. 

Tickets are generally issued for minor infractions such as speeding, running a red light, texting while driving, and other types of moving and non-moving violations. But when a more serious motor vehicle incident occurs, such as death or bodily injury, the driver may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony which could result in jail time, hefty fines, or revocation of their license.

The length of time a traffic violation can stay on a Florida driving record varies, depending on the type of incident. For example:

  • Moving and non-moving violations: Generally, these types of violations are retained for three to five years from the disposition date. However, more serious violations may be on the record for longer periods of time. 
  • Commercial driver license (CDL) violations: Periods vary depending on the type of violation and can be 10 years or longer. 
  • Alcohol-related violations: This type of violation is considered very serious in Florida and remains on someone’s driving record for 75 years. 
  • Criminal violations: Due to their serious nature, in Florida when a crime is committed while driving, it remains on someone’s driving record permanently. These types of records can only be sealed or expunged by the court. 

Who Maintains Florida Driving Records?

In the state of Florida, there are several agencies involved in collecting and maintaining motor vehicle records and a motorist’s driving and traffic histories. The Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles oversees all aspects of motor vehicles in Florida, including the Florida Highway Patrol and Motorist Services. They also provide Florida MVR services as the records maintained by the FLHSMV typically contain a motorist’s driving history that can be requested as a part of an MVR check in Florida. 

Information retained by Florida state courts contain records related to traffic offenses that have civil or criminal court cases. Court records may include information related to court dates, such as pleadings, motions, and sentences. 

Other important Florida departments involved in enforcing various aspects of motorist licensing and driver laws, include:

  • The Florida Highway Patrol which is a nationally accredited law enforcement agency that patrols nearly 50 million miles of Florida roads, overseeing driver safety and commercial vehicle enforcement.
  • Division of Motorist Services, part of the FLHSMV, provides services to drivers including licensing, vehicle registration, driver’s education, and titling. It also provides services for commercial vehicles, farm vehicles, and vessels, along with dealers. 

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Why You May Need To Check FL Driving Records

Reviewing Florida driving records and public safety data may be important for employment positions where the candidate will operate a motor vehicle as part of their job. Additionally, Florida MVRs may be legally required for certain positions, including school bus drivers, commercial trucking, and those regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT)

A Florida MVR can help employers gain insight into a candidate’s driving history to help determine if they are a safe driver. It can also show certain criminal driving records, like DUIs, that may not always appear on a criminal background check. Having a record of checking a candidate’s driving history can help protect employers from potential liability claims and rising insurance premiums. 

How To Get A MVR in Florida

In Florida, individuals can check the status of their driver license for free through the FLHSMV’s online Driver License Check. You can also purchase a copy of your own 3-year, 7-year or complete Florida MVR through the FLHSMV by submitting the Driver License Record Request Form by mail or visiting a Florida driver license service center. These reports can also be accessed through a court clerk or purchased from an authorized third-party provider. 

Employers that want to get a Florida MVR to review a candidate’s driving record can perform a search on their own or choose to use a trusted Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), like GoodHire. Working with a CRA can speed the process for more efficient recruiting and hiring, easing the administrative burden on your HR team. However, it is important to keep in mind that when working with a CRA to check a candidate’s FL driving records, you will need to comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Under the FCRA, employers working with a CRA to conduct background checks are required by federal law to follow certain procedures. For example, you need to provide written disclosure to the candidate of your intent to do the check. You will also need to receive written consent from the candidate and provide a summary of rights. Should your company decide not to hire a candidate based on information revealed in a Florida MVR, you are also legally required to follow the adverse action process. Employers that violate the FCRA rules could face stiff penalties and be at risk for lawsuits. 

Florida MVR Laws

Employers that conduct a MVR check in Florida must be sure to comply with both federal and state regulations. Here is what you need to know about Florida MVR laws:

Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

Federal Statute 18 USC 2721, or DPPA, ensures your personal information is protected by limiting who can see your information. The DPPA limits the use of a driver’s motor vehicle record to certain purposes and protects the privacy of drivers’ personal information.

Florida Sunshine Law

Under Florida Statute 119.0712(2), traffic records are considered public record, unless there is an specific exception. This includes records maintained by a state agency, such as the records kept by the FLHSMV. Certain personal information that may show up in an FLHSMV public record may only be released as authorized by the DPPA. 

This statute also states that certain people who are considered to have high-risk positions, such as judges, police officers, and their family members are exempt from the law’s open public record requirements.

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Florida Senate Bill 1614

This new bill, which goes into law March 1, 2023, makes crash report data in a computerized database confidential and exempt from public inspection and copying requirements. The bill permits a crash report to be available to the media as long as it does not contain certain personal information for the individuals involved in the crash (including street address, driver license or identification card number, date of birth, and telephone numbers). The bill also allows crash reports to be made available 60 days after the report is filed to any person or entity eligible to access crash reports under the bill or in accordance with permissible uses under the DPPA. The bill also exempts certain personal information in a uniform traffic citation from public records and copying requirements, including the driver’s date of birth, driver license number, address (except zip code), telephone number, license plate number, and trailer tag number.  

Florida House Bill 1359

This bill, which was passed in 2021, created four public records exemptions to make certain information received by FLHSMV confidential and exempt from public disclosure requirements. These records include information received by FLHSMV as part of its investigations of:

  • suspected violations of ch. 322, F. S. (relating to driver licenses and ID cards) 
  • suspected violations by private rebuilt inspection providers
  • suspected violations of ch. 319, F.S. (relating to motor vehicle titles)
  • suspected violations of ch. 322, F.S. (relating to  motor vehicle dealer and manufacturer licensing)

Employers that are unsure of Florida MVR laws may wish to comply with the strictest federal, state, and local laws to avoid potential liability. 

How To Get Florida Driving Records With GoodHire

A trusted CRA, like GoodHire, can help employers streamline their Florida MVRs, which are an important part of a comprehensive background check as well as a Florida background check. Using a qualified CRA can help streamline the process with both accuracy and quick turnaround times. Plus, working with a CRA can help you more easily navigate legal compliance.

GoodHire offers more than 100 screening options – including Florida driving records, criminal background checks and credit histories in Miami metro and more. Save time using our user-friendly online platform with built-in, automated workflows. Need more support? GoodHire’s FCRA-trained support team is here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with our sales team to learn how to get started with Florida driving record checks.

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The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the Author

As GoodHire’s managing editor, Sara Korolevich produces educational resources for employers on a variety of employment screening topics, including compliance and screening best practices, and writes about GoodHire’s company and product news. Sara’s experience stems from 20+ years working as a B2C and B2B PR and communications professional.