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Guide To Texas MVR & Driving Record Checks

As an employer, Texas driving records may be used as a tool for screening job candidates, employees, and anyone who drives on the job. Conducting a Texas MVR check can help you maintain safe driving policies and protect your bottom line.

If your employees, contractors, or volunteers drive for your company or operate a company vehicle during work hours, their driving history may be important to you. Texas driving records can help you verify license status and check for accidents and moving violations that may reveal an individual’s ability to drive safely (or get insured) on the job.

This article explains what’s in a Texas driver record, how to get a driving record in Texas, and how to stay compliant with federal, state, and local regulations while screening an individual’s driving history.

What Is A Texas Driving Record?

A Texas driving record, also known as a motor vehicle report (MVR), shows a range of information on a candidate’s license status and driving history. For positions that require driving on the job—from truck drivers regulated by the US Department of Transportation to sales reps driving from one client worksite to another—a Texas MVR check can provide critical information on drivers license classes and status, moving violations and tickets, DUIs, accidents, and more. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) maintains driving records for Texas state license holders. Checking a candidate’s record through Texas DPS will show their driving history in Texas, including DUIs, but will not show records from other states. For a more complete picture of a candidate’s driving history, you may consider searching driving records in all states where the candidate has held a drivers license in the past three to seven years.

Types Of Texas Driving Records

The following six types of records are available through the Texas DPS:

  • Status Record (Type 1): Includes name, date of birth, license status, and most recent address
  • 3-Year History Record (Type 2): Includes information from Type 1, with the addition of accidents and moving violations recorded within the past three years
  • All Accidents and Violations on Record (Type 3): Includes information from Type 2, but removes the three-year time limitation
  • Certified 3-Year History Record (Type 2A): A certified version of Type 2
  • Certified List of All Accidents and Violations on Record (Type 3A): A certified version of Type 3
  • Certified Abstracts of Driving Record (Type AR): Certified abstract of the driver’s complete driving record

Because complete lists of accidents and violations (Types 3 and 3A) are only available to the license holder, employers may opt for a three-year history (Types 2 or 2A) when conducting a pre-employment background check. If you require a longer lookback period, you may choose a complete driving record (Type AR). 

Employers should be aware of the limitations on how far back you can search a candidate’s history. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) limits the information on an MVR provided by a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to a seven-year lookback period, with the exception of criminal conviction information. Depending on state law, you may be able to access information older than seven years if your candidate’s expected salary meets a minimum threshold. If you are searching on your own without the help of a CRA, the seven-year restriction does not apply, regardless of candidate salary.

Driving Record Agencies In Texas

The Texas DPS is the primary source for Texas MVRs. 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintains records of crash reports obtained from law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Online crash reports are not available to the general public but you may request one in writing if your employee was involved in a crash. 

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) processes drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, license plates, and vehicle titles but does not provide MVRs or crash reports to employers or the public.

Why You May Need A Texas Driving Record

Safety is a key concern for employees driving at work. Whether your organization operates commercial vehicles for interstate commerce, maintains a fleet of delivery or service vehicles, or simply employs people who drive from one worksite to another, safe driving is critical to workplace safety, customer safety, and public safety. Unsafe driving and accidents are dangerous and costly, creating potential risk to your organization through liability, loss, and increased insurance costs.

Pre-employment driving record checks can help you identify potential areas of risk in a candidate’s driving history before you allow them behind the wheel. Employers most often review Texas driving records for positions that involve operating company vehicles or machinery. 

Employers of commercial vehicle drivers conducting interstate commerce are required to run pre-employment and annual employee MVR reports under regulation by the US Department of Transportation. If your organization conducts interstate commerce and operates commercial trucks, passenger vehicles with a capacity of nine or more passengers, or any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials, you may be required to follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Depending on the type of vehicles you use, drivers may need a Class A, Class B, or Class C commercial driver’s license.

Some positions are subject to state and local regulations. For example, school bus drivers in Texas must submit to MVR checks going back seven years, both prior to employment and annually once they’re employed. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires drivers for ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, to undergo a pre-employment screening that includes MVRs as well as a criminal background check.

In many other cases, employers use MVR screening at their own discretion, to help ensure drivers at work are safe and insurable. Using MVR reports as part of a candidate’s pre-employment background screening and, if necessary, regular annual review helps keep you up to date on their suitability for driving on the job.

How To Get A Driving Record In Texas

Drivers can request their own Texas driver license record through the Texas DPS website or by mail. Reviewing your own Texas MVR report may be a smart move for anyone thinking of applying for a job that requires safe driving. Knowing what’s on your report can prepare you for the pre-employment screening process. You’ll also have the opportunity to remedy any inaccuracies you find before you start applying for jobs.

Employers can use the same Texas DPS site to search Texas driving records on their own, though many employers choose to work with a third-party provider, like GoodHire, instead. In addition to providing MVR reports quickly and accurately, a qualified CRA can search in multiple states at once, providing a more comprehensive report.

Searches conducted through a CRA are subject to FCRA requirements. If you’re conducting a background screening through a third-party provider, follow these steps for compliance

  • Let the candidate know that you are conducting a search of their driving records and that the results may influence your hiring decision.
  • Obtain the candidate’s written consent to conduct a background screening through a CRA.

If the results of the background check cause you to reconsider hiring the individual, you must  also provide a pre-adverse action notice that includes:

  • A copy of the background check results
  • Contact information for the background screening company
  • A summary of rights under the FCRA
  • A notice of the candidate’s right to dispute inaccurate information in the report

If you ultimately decide against hiring, the FCRA outlines the required steps in the adverse action process. These include providing the candidate with written notice of final adverse action, with information about disputing any inaccurate information contained within the background check report and obtaining additional copies of their background check report within 60 days. The notice should also explain the hiring decision was yours, not the CRA’s, and provide the name, address, and phone number of the CRA.

Texas MVR Laws

Although Texas does not have a statewide ban-the-box law restricting the use of MVRs in pre-employment screening, it does regulate access to and use of data contained in Texas driving records. Because driving records contain personal identifying information and data such as home addresses, employers should take care to obtain written consent before searching MVRs, and to handle the information they receive securely.

The following laws regulate how employers—and the public—may access and use Texas MVRs.

Driver’s Privacy Protection Act

The federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) protects the private information contained in state motor vehicle records from being disclosed to the general public. The law lists 14 allowable exceptions, including employers needing to confirm commercial driver’s licenses and cases in which signed written consent is given for disclosure.

Motor Vehicle Records Disclosure Act

The Texas Motor Vehicle Records Disclosure Act prohibits the disclosure and use of personal information contained in motor vehicle records, except as authorized by the individual or by law. Employers, general contractors, nonprofits, charitable organizations, and religious institutions can obtain or verify information in the motor vehicle records of their employees, contractors, or volunteers with the consent of the license holder. You may not sell or disclose any personal information you receive.

Public Information Act

The Texas Public Information Act (PIA) requires governmental agencies, including the DPS, DOT, and DMV, to release information in response to a request for information. Requests that may be exempted from disclosure under the PIA are reviewed by the Open Records Division, which determines whether the request should be permitted or withheld.

Get A Texas MVR With GoodHire

Working with a trusted CRA, like GoodHire, can streamline the screening process and deliver the results you need with speed, accuracy, and service. Whether you’re in Dallas or anywhere in Texas, MVR reports are among the hundreds of screening services offered by GoodHire. We deliver reliable results to help you thoroughly screen candidates for driving-related positions, and our platform’s built-in compliance tools help you comply with relevant laws and regulations. Looking to order a Texas MVR check? Get started with GoodHire.

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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

Gayle Sato headshot

Gayle writes about GoodHire’s screening services to inform employers about background check best practices.