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
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.
Learn More About Driving Record Checks
Employers often use driving record checks as part of pre-employment background checks. Driving record checks reveal basic information about a driver’s qualifications and driving history. Conducting a driving record check can help an employer determine a candidate’s eligibility to drive, mitigate risk, and may even be required by law for certain types of positions, such as commercial drivers.
What is a driving record check (MVR)?
A driving record check, also known as a motor vehicle report (MVR), is a type of background screening focused on a candidate’s driving history. An MVR check shows information such as driver’s license class and status, accident records, moving violations, and driving-related convictions.
In some cases, a motor vehicle record check might be required by law. For example, employers that have vehicles that cross state lines, transport hazardous materials, operate commercial vehicles, or carry passengers may be subject to special regulations. And while a driving record check is often conducted as part of pre-employment background screenings, in some cases employers may be required to run MVR checks at regular intervals after hiring for compliance purposes.
What shows up on an MVR check?
MVR checks for employers show a range of information about an individual’s driving history, which may include the following items:
- License Status: Driving records reveal if an individual’s driver’s license is valid, suspended, or revoked. If the driver does not have driving privileges, the report will typically include an explanation.
- License Class: MVRs show the type of license a driver may have, such as non-commercial or commercial. It may also include restrictions or special endorsements. If the candidate has a commercial driver’s license, the type of class will also be shown.
- Traffic Violations: Driving records reflect a range of moving violations, from speeding to failure to yield the right of way. However, the types of entries on the report may vary depending on differences in state traffic laws.
- Accident Reports: MVRs will generally show if an individual was involved in an accident along with a description of whether the incident involved property damage, personal injury, or death. These may also be called crash reports.
- Vehicular crimes: MVR record checks may list misdemeanor and felony offenses involving the use of a motor vehicle, including vehicular manslaughter as well as DUIs from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In some states, certain vehicle-related incidents, such as DUIs, are not always reflected on criminal background checks, making MVR checks useful as part of a comprehensive background check.
Many, but not all, states share driving infraction data. MVR 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 the state(s) where the driver was licensed prior to receiving their current license. If the candidate has lived in different states or recently moved, employers may consider conducting multiple MVRs for a more comprehensive driving history.
In addition, while many states list motor vehicle record check findings using a coding system established by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), some states present findings using their own coding systems.
How far back does an MVR report go?
Look back periods for MVR reports can vary by state. While many states maintain records for three years, some states may keep DMV records going back five, seven, or ten years.
In some states, there may be different types of MVRs that each have their own look-back periods. For example, Texas has six types of driving records, including a complete record that goes back indefinitely. However, access to certain records is limited. Florida offers three types of MVRs, including a complete driving report that goes back 11 years. In California, vehicle-related convictions can go back up to 10 years, depending on the offense.
Codes for cumulative offenses can enable MVR report 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 to order MVR checks for employers
Employers have several options to obtain MVR checks. However, regardless of how you order pre-employment driving record checks, it’s important to comply with all applicable regulations.
- Using an FCRA-compliant background check provider: Using a third-party background check provider, like GoodHire, to conduct driving record checks can speed turnaround times and make reviewing results more efficient by presenting MVRs from all states in a standardized format. Additionally, paying one vendor instead of multiple DMVs can simplify billing, plus screening companies typically offer volume discounts.
- Requesting the candidate to provide the MVR: Depending on the role, employers can ask the candidate to provide an MVR with their job application. However, this can take longer than working with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) as obtaining certified copies sent by mail could take a week or more to process. If records are sent electronically, there is also the potential that a candidate could alter or falsify information.
- Ordering MVRs directly from the DMV: Most states allow third parties, such as employers, to order MVRs directly from state motor vehicle departments. While this can help eliminate the possibility of document manipulation by a candidate, it can put added demands on HR staff. Also, MVR checks for employers that require checks in multiple states can bring issues such as the need to pay for checks in multiple states, potential for error completing different forms, and confusion due to different report formats and coding systems.
It’s important to note that employers who partner with a CRA must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is designed to protect the candidate by requiring employers to disclose their intent to conduct the screening, obtain written consent from the candidate, and follow the adverse action process should an employer decide not to hire an applicant based on information that surfaced during a background check.
How to check your driving record
In most states individuals can request a copy of their driving record online or by mail. Typically this is done through the state’s department of motor vehicles, department of highway safety, department of public safety, or similar government agency, that is in charge of maintaining state motor vehicle records.
For example, in some states individuals may be able to see a more complete record of their driving history than employers or other third parties. However, these records may not be considered official, and therefore may not be acceptable for a pre-employment driving check. Individuals may also be able to request an unofficial copy of their MVR report from their car insurance company or agent as they also have access to your driving record.
What are the safest and least safe cities for driving?
To help businesses understand the importance of proper MVR checks and how safety on the roads can impact both employees and employers, GoodHire analyzed driving data to uncover the safest (and least safe) places 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. View the full report.
Get an MVR check with GoodHire
Reviewing a candidate’s driving history using an MVR check may be an important part of a pre-employment background check for positions where employees, volunteers, or contractors will operate motor vehicles for business purposes. MVR reports can provide valuable insight to help reduce risk to your customers and business.
GoodHire offers MVR checks as one of our 100+ screening options, providing fast, accurate results to help you make informed hiring decisions, while our built-in compliance tools help you comply with applicable hiring laws. GoodHire also simplifies the process by delivering results in a standardized format that’s easy to understand. Get started.
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.