Trust & Safety
Why MVR Checks To Obtain Driving Records Are Critical
Reviewing your candidate’s driving records and public safety data is important for positions where employees, volunteers, or contractors will operate motor vehicles for business purposes. An MVR check provides insight into whether a candidate is a safe driver.
- Hire qualified candidates with safe driving records
- Maintain safety protocols and minimize risk
- Safeguard company assets, employees, and customers
- Maintain your organization’s reputation and trust within the community
- Protect your organization against liability claims and higher insurance premiums
What Do Motor Vehicle Report (MVR Checks) & Driving Records Checks Show
An MVR report searches a state’s department of motor vehicles, or similar entity, to confirm whether a candidate’s driver’s license is valid or has been suspended, and identifies any driving-related violations. For most states, records are returned for the past three years, but some states go back five, seven, or 10 years. A motor vehicle record is checked through the state of license issuance (whichever state where your candidate holds a license), and does not show traffic violation records from other states.
- Candidate’s full name as it appears on the license
- State where license is held
- Driver’s license number
- Driver’s license status (valid, suspended, expired, etc.)
- Class (commercial driver’s license, operator, etc.)
- Felony and misdemeanor convictions (DUI, DWI)
- Moving violations, suspensions, and restrictions
More Information About MVR & Driving Record Checks
What You Need To Know When
Running Driving Record Checks
Employers using a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), like GoodHire, to run background checks to assess candidates during the hiring process have important responsibilities to ensure a fair and respectful process for the person, and to comply with various laws and regulations that govern employment screening. Ban-the-box compliance, targeted screens, and individualized assessments apply only when taking adverse action due to criminal records (e.g., felony convictions for DUI). Some of those laws and regulations include:
Federal Fair Credit
Reporting Act (FCRA)
You must adhere to the FCRA’s disclosure, authorization, and consent requirements. If the results of a driving records search prompts a decision to deny employment, the FCRA requires employers to follow specific adverse action steps.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC offers recommended guidelines to conduct individualized assessments so employers can make fair, informed decisions.
Ban The Box & Fair Hiring Laws
A patchwork of state, county, and city laws move the criminal history inquiry until later in the hiring process. These laws may apply based on both the employers’ and candidates’ locations, making it tricky to know which law to follow.
Your Organization’s Hiring Policy
If your business is conducting background checks, your hiring and screening policies should be consistent and compliant to prevent discrimination and to minimize the risk of litigation and enforcement from federal agencies.
Driving Record Checks
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an MVR?
An MVR—short for “motor vehicle record” or “motor vehicle report”—is a background check focused on an individual’s driving history. An MVR reveals whether the subject of the screening is properly licensed to drive, if their driving record includes criminal offenses, moving violations, or failure to pay tickets or fines.
What information appears in an MVR report?
An MVR reports whether a driver license is valid, and lists any license revocations or suspensions, accidents, driving offenses and other infractions. MVR checks may include the following items:
- Accident Reports: If an individual was involved in an accident, it is noted in the MVR, with a description of whether the incident involved property damage, personal injury, or death.
- Traffic Violations: MVR reports can reflect a host of moving violations, from speeding to failure to yield the right of way. Entries vary according to differences in state traffic laws.
- License Suspensions: If a state has revoked an individual’s driving privileges, that will be indicated in an MVR check, along with the reasons for doing so.
- Vehicular Crimes: MVR reports list criminal offenses involving use of a motor vehicle, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) and vehicular homicide.
Many states list MVR findings using a coding system established by the nonprofit American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). Some states present findings using their own coding systems.
How far back does an MVR report go?
The length of time that MVR reports cover varies by state, however many states maintain a motor vehicle record for three years, while some date back as far as seven years.
Most but not all states share driving infraction data, so motor vehicle record reports may reflect incidents that occurred when the driver was licensed in a different state, prior to the issuance of their current license. It may also be possible in some cases to request an MVR from state(s) where the driver was licensed prior to receiving their current license.
Codes for cumulative offenses can enable MVR findings to capture traffic incidents older than their states’ record-keeping limits. For instance, in a state that reports three years of driving history, an MVR entry indicating “Three serious violations within three years” could reflect offenses as old as six years.
How long does turnaround take?
Most states maintain electronic driver record databases and allow online processing of MVR requests, enabling delivery of electronic reports within the same day. Certified copies must be returned by mail, which can add days to the process, depending on the workload of DMV staff and the distance the mail must travel. Errors in the entry of driver’s license numbers or other personal information required when requesting an MVR can also delay delivery.
Why are MVR reports important?
Pre-employment background screening that includes a driver record check can prevent the hiring of drivers with troubled histories who may pose highway safety risks to passengers, other motorists, freight and company employees and vehicles.
Hiring drivers with clean driving records or few recent infractions can also help protect your company against liability claims, as well as help keep down insurance premiums.
Motor vehicle records may be checked for positions like:
- Commercial driver services
- Couriers and delivery drivers
- Contract drivers in the gig economy
- Any employee who drives company vehicles
- Any volunteer who drives as part of their volunteer work
- Traffic school instructors
In addition, companies designated as motor carriers by the U.S. Department of Transportation must request MVRs yearly for all drivers, and keep the driver qualification file for at least three years.
What are the drawbacks of checking MVRs?
MVR checks aren’t especially difficult to obtain, but they can create a variety of challenges for HR teams and hiring managers:
- Turnaround Times: While driver record results may be delivered very quickly, potential delays in processing times make them unpredictable, and that can delay the hiring process.
- Requests from Multiple States: Pulling MVRs from multiple states, each with its own data-entry and payment forms, increases the chance of error and complicates bookkeeping. Different report formats and coding systems can also make reports from different states difficult to compare.
- Bottleneck for High-volume Hiring: Organizations that need to add many drivers quickly may find MVRs to be a stumbling block, as outreach to multiple states, each with inconsistent report formats, complicates the hiring process.
- Laws and Regulations: When used in the hiring process or as a condition of continued employment, MVRs are governed by the same regulations as criminal background checks and other background screenings. A patchwork of state and local laws may apply depending on which state is issuing the MVR, and all checks are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The FCRA spells out strict requirements for when and how current or potential employers can conduct MVRs and other screenings. Failure to follow FCRA compliance regulations can bring financial penalties and expose violators to lawsuits.
How do you get an MVR report?
Proven approaches to obtaining an MVR check each have advantages and drawbacks. Whichever method is used, it’s critical that the employer comply with all applicable regulations.
- Requesting the Candidate to Provide the MVR: Asking job candidates to furnish MVRs with their job applications minimizes the time and effort required by the hiring team, but obtaining certified copies by mail could take a week or longer, while use of electronic copies raises concerns about a candidate’s ability to alter the findings.
- Ordering MVRs Directly from DMV: Ordering MVRs directly from state motor vehicle departments eliminates the potential for document manipulation, but makes greater demands on HR staff. Multiple state web forms introduce greater potential for error. Dealing with multiple state systems can create bookkeeping hassles (no invoicing, bulk purchases, etc.), and different report formats and coding systems can make individual state forms hard to interpret.
- Using an FCRA-compliant Provider: Using online services like a third-party background check provider to conduct MVRs may mean a higher cost per screening compared with ordering directly from state DMVs, but paying one vendor instead of multiple DMVs can simplify billing, speed turnaround times, improve the quality of customer service, and make reviewing results more efficient. (Background check specialists such as GoodHire also typically offer volume discounts.) Professional background check providers also typically present MVRs from all states in a standardized format that makes them easier to review and compare than a DMV record.