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.
How to order MVR checks
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.
- 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.
- 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.
What are the safest and least safe cities for driving?
When interviewing for key roles at your company, reviewing a candidate’s driving records can prove to be an important step in the hiring process. Reviewing driving records may be even more valuable when hiring for positions in which employees will operate motor vehicles as part of their responsibilities. Specifically, an MVR check provides reliable data to help employers evaluate a candidate’s driving history.
Driving records may also assist employers in creating a safe environment on the road, protecting both the employee and the company, mitigating overall risk, upholding a top-of-the-line company reputation, and safeguarding against liability claims and higher insurance costs.
To help businesses understand the importance of proper MVR checks, the aforementioned driving record data, and how safety on the roads can impact both employees and employers, GoodHire analyzed driving data to uncover the safest place for drivers in each US state.
To conduct the analysis, GoodHire reviewed data from the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (USDOT), the Office of Highway Policy Information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.
Now, let’s get into the key findings to learn more about the safest US states for driving.
The safest states for driving
The graphic above shows the safest states for driving in America. The data shows these states are all highly rated for key safe driving metrics — DUIs, average driving age, average daily traffic, fatal crash rate, and fatality rate change since 2010. The states that rank highly may be viewed as exceptional places for those looking for a safe area to drive for business and personal reasons.
To start, Utah ranks as the overall safest state in America for driving, showcasing top 10 ranks for the lowest number of DUIs, lowest fatal crash rate, and highest fatality rate change since 2010. Utah also ranks in the top 25 for daily traffic rate and inside the top 10 for average driving age.
Following Utah and rounding out the top 10 are Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Ohio, Alaska, Iowa, and North Dakota.
The data also reveals the states falling just outside of the top 10, which include New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Now, let’s take a look at the other end of the spectrum — the most dangerous states for driving in America, according to our data analysis.
the most dangerous states for driving
The graphic above shows the most dangerous states for driving in America using the same key metrics.
First, Mississippi takes the last spot in the entire country as the most dangerous state for driving. Mississippi ranks outside of the top 40 for fatal crash rate, average driving age, and DUIs. Additionally, the state ranks outside of the top 10 for average daily traffic, and outside the top 30 for fatality rate change since 2010. Based on all key metrics, Mississippi can be quite dangerous for drivers traveling on the roads for work or for personal reasons.
Following Mississippi on the most dangerous states for driving list are Oregon, South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Arizona, South Dakota, California, Tennessee, Kansas, and Maine.
Just outside the most dangerous states top 10 list are Michigan, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Montana.
Next, let’s take a look at some key individual metrics that make up a safe driving environment and which states stand out from the rest.
key safety metrics: Duis, fatal crashes, daily traffic
When it comes to a safe state for driving, three metrics stand out as most important — DUIs, fatal crashes, and average daily traffic.
Driving under the influence or being in control of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a leading cause of accidents on the road and responsible for more than 10,000 deaths every year in the US and about one-third of all traffic-related deaths, according to the NHTSA.
So, how do the states rank?
As shown in the graphic above, Delaware leads the way as the state with the least amount of DUIs per 1,000 people, followed by Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, and Massachusetts. Rounding out the top 10 are North Carolina, Utah, South Carolina, Connecticut, and Arkansas.
The next key metric is the fatal crash rate. Fatal crashes are defined as death as a result of an injury sustained in a crash and were responsible for more than 40,000 deaths nationwide in 2021. When it comes to the states with the lowest rates of fatal crashes, according to our analysis, Massachusetts lands in the top spot, followed by Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Utah, Hawaii, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Last, it’s no surprise that average daily traffic has a significant impact on driving safety. To better understand this, GoodHire uncovered the states with the lowest average daily traffic. The top spot for this key driving safety metric goes Montana, followed by North Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Kansas.
Driving safety is extremely important for all individuals on the road and should not be overlooked by corporations and small businesses, especially during the hiring process. A proper MVR check can positively impact hiring decisions and protect employees and businesses alike.
the full list of the safest us states for driving
Lastly, let’s take a look at the full rundown of the safest states for driving, along with the overall safety scores — a lower score means a safer state for driving.
For more information on GoodHire’s research or to request graphics for this study, please contact email@example.com.
To rank America’s safest states for driving, GoodHire analyzed the most recent traffic density and driving age data from the United States Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) fatal crash data, and the FBI Crime Data Explorer’s DUI arrest data. All states were ranked for each of the five factors — fatal crashes (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled), DUIs (per 1,000 people), average weighted daily traffic per lane, fatality rate change, and driving age percentages — then given a total driving safety score based on their weighted sum of the ranks. Fatal crash rate and DUIs were assigned a 25% weight, traffic density was assigned a 20% weight, and fatality rate increase and driving age were assigned a 15% weight.
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.