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Guide To New Jersey MVR & Driving Record Checks

Illustration showing outline of state of New Jersey

A New Jersey driving record can help employers make more informed hiring decisions by helping  determine a candidate’s eligibility to operate a vehicle and gain insight into an individual’s driving history. Using a New Jersey driver record may help employers  create a safer work environment, save on insurance premiums, and mitigate risk. This guide covers what employers need to know about conducting an NJ MVR and what federal, state, and local laws may apply. 

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What Is A New Jersey MVR?

A New Jersey MVR (motor vehicle record) — also called a Driver History Abstract — shows an individual’s driving history for the last five years in the State of New Jersey. Employers may use a motor vehicle report in New Jersey to review a candidate’s driver license type and status, traffic law violations, accidents, and vehicle-related crimes like DUIs or DWIs. 

Types of New Jersey mvrs

In New Jersey, there are three types of driving records:

  • Non-certified 5-year driving record: Individuals can access a copy of their own New Jersey driver history abstract which includes records–such as violations, points, and accidents–for the last 5 years. This type of driving record is considered unofficial and not usable for employment purposes. 
  • Certified 5 Year Driver History Abstract: This type of record includes the same information as the non-certified version, and be used by employers as part of the background check process. Lawyers and courts also have access to certified records.
  • Certified Complete Driver History Abstract: Courts can request these records, which contain an individual’s complete New Jersey driving history. 

How To Check A Driving Record in NJ

Individuals can request a copy of their own Driver History Abstract. This can be done online  through the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) website, by mail, or at a NJMVC or Regional Service Center using Form DO-21. Additional supporting documents can also be requested, including accident reports; license suspension and restoration orders, schedules, and notices; and summons. Requesting records can be a time consuming process for hiring staff. 

Employers that want a more streamlined experience, can choose to partner with a qualified consumer reporting agency (CRA), like GoodHire. GoodHire helps employers stay compliant with federal, state, and local laws and offers a wide range of background screening options, while delivering faster turnaround times and more accurate report results. 

When working with a CRA, employers must follow the federal regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under the FCRA, employers must notify a candidate of their intent to conduct a background check (including a driving record check) and receive consent from the individual prior to moving forward. Should information appear that may impact the hiring decision, employers are required to follow the adverse action process. 

Why Employers Should Order New Jersey MVR Reports?

Organizations that require their employees to operate vehicles or machinery can check a candidate’s driving history to determine if they are eligible for a role with an NJ MRV. Several types of driving records from the past five years can appear on an MVR report in New Jersey, including license status and type, moving violations, traffic citations, and accidents. DUIs also appear on an individual’s motor vehicle report in New Jersey, however they remain permanently.

New Jersey employers may also consider conducting an NJ MVR to help safeguard both employees and customers, protect against potential liability claims, and mitigate risk. Conducting driving record checks can also help employers maintain their ability to have a commercial auto insurance policy and prevent increases to insurance premiums. 

In some cases, a New Jersey MVR may be required by law. For example, both school bus and limousine drivers are required to hold a CDL passenger endorsement, which mandates the submission of an annual driver’s abstract. Commercial driving positions federally regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) are also required to undergo a DOT background check which includes a check of driving records from the previous three states where an individual held their license or permit. 

In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates employers that operate vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds, vehicles that seat nine or more passengers, and vehicles that carry hazardous materials conduct motor vehicle record checks during the hiring process and annually thereafter. 

New Jersey Driving Record Laws

Employers conducting an NJ MVR must stay compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Organizations that are unsure which New Jersey driving record laws apply may want to consider following the strictest regulations and check with their legal counsel. Here is what you need to know about New Jersey motor vehicle report laws:

Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

A candidate’s personal information is protected by Federal Statute 18 USC 2721. Under the DPPA, access to the information found on a driver’s motor vehicle record is limited to only certain circumstances. A candidate’s personal information which appears in their motor vehicle report is also limited. 

New jersey open public records act (OPRA)

Under OPRA, employers are permitted to request a certified copy of an individual’s NJ driving record from the NJMVC as part of a pre-employment background check. Records must be requested using the online Government Records Request Form through the Transportation department under the Motor Vehicle Commission. Note the DPPA still applies.

Get A New Jersey MVR Check

Organizations that require employees to safely operate vehicles or equipment may use a driving record check as part of a comprehensive New Jersey background check. New Jersey MVR reports give employers insights into a candidate’s driving history to help support a safer working environment for your employees and customers while also reducing potential legal risks. 

With GoodHire, employers can get a New Jersey driving record as part of our 100+ screening options. Plus, our built-in workflows, easy-to-use online platform, and compliance tools can help employers create a more efficient background check process with faster, more accurate results. Get started.

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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.