When hiring a new employee, employers must do their due diligence. This may include background checks, drug testing, work history verification, or licensing/certification checks.
And if you’re hiring an employee who will spend a lot of their work hours on the road, whether in their own car or a company vehicle, you’ll want to conduct a motor vehicle record (MVR) check, too!
Don’t stress if you’re wondering what this involves and how to ensure compliance! We’re going to break it down below. You can also consult your HR team and attorney and work with a reputable background check company to make this process simple and legal.
What is a motor vehicle record (MVR) report, and what does it include?
As the name indicates, an MVR shows an individual’s driving history. This data comes from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and is usually only conducted for employees whose jobs entail driving.
While the information varies from state to state, an MVR report typically shows:
- Licensing information, including class, restrictions, suspensions, and expirations
- Driving infractions, such as speeding tickets and moving traffic violations
- Accidents the driver has been involved in (some states include who was at fault)
- Criminal charges, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving—although in some states, these only appear on someone’s criminal record, not their MVR.
Pro tip: You may need to run MVR checks in the employee’s current and previous state(s) of residence, depending on the state and job requirements. Check with your local jurisdiction.
How far back does an MVR check go?
Each state has different reporting requirements. The average MVR shows at least three to five years of driving history, while some show up to 10 years.
Some states base this on the type of violation. For example, look-back periods for standard moving violations, DUIs, and moving violations made in a commercial vehicle may differ.
When should employers run an MVR report?
Employers generally only need to run MVR reports for employees who will be constantly or frequently driving vehicles or operating heavy machinery. You may also run an MVR for employees who occasionally use company vehicles to confirm that your insurance covers them.
Common situations where employers conduct MVR checks include:
- Commercial drivers: Employers hiring drivers for commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses, or taxis typically conduct MVR checks. Compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations often requires employers to review driving records to ensure candidates meet the necessary qualifications.
- Delivery or transportation services: Companies that provide delivery services or transportation of goods may require MVR checks for employees operating company-owned vehicles. This allows you to verify that individuals have a safe driving history, and you can trust them to transport goods.
- Sales or field representatives: If a job involves frequent travel or requires employees to use their personal vehicles for work-related purposes, such as meeting clients or attending off-site meetings, employers may choose to conduct MVR checks to assess the driving abilities and safety records of potential hires.
Why are MVR checks important for these roles?
Depending on your industry, it is critical to run MVR reports for positions like those listed above for:
- Safety considerations: If the job requires driving as a significant component, employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees, clients, and the general public. Conducting MVR checks allows you to assess an individual’s driving history, identify any past traffic violations or accidents, and determine their ability to operate vehicles safely.
- Risk mitigation: By reviewing MVR records, employers can mitigate potential risks associated with negligent hiring or retention. Hiring individuals with a history of unsafe driving behaviors or multiple traffic violations could expose your organization to liabilities, accidents, or increased insurance costs.
- Compliance with legal requirements: Certain industries or positions may be subject to specific regulations or insurance requirements. Compliance with such requirements is essential for avoiding penalties and maintaining the company’s legal standing. For example, transportation companies must comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, often including MVR checks for commercial drivers.
- Protection of company assets: When employees operate company-owned vehicles or use their personal vehicles for work-related purposes, their driving behaviors can impact the company’s assets. MVR checks help you evaluate the level of risk associated with providing vehicles or authorizing the use of personal vehicles for business needs.
- Insurance considerations: You often need to consider insurance coverage when employees drive for work purposes. Insurers may have specific requirements or guidelines for coverage, including assessments of driving records. By conducting MVR checks, employers can ensure that employees meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage.
9 Steps to Run a Fair & Legal MVR Check
When hiring new employees, follow these steps to ensure your MVR reporting process is fair and legal:
- Understand federal and local laws: An MVR is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because it’s considered a consumer report. Additionally, different regions may have specific requirements regarding the permissible use of MVR information, data retention, and applicant rights. Ensure your procedures comply with FCRA requirements and laws and regulations governing MVR checks in your jurisdiction.
- Obtain candidate consent: Before conducting an MVR check, employers must obtain written permission from the candidate. Use a separate authorization form specifically addressing the MVR check—this should also comply with local data protection and privacy laws!
- Determine the appropriate time: Decide when the MVR check should be conducted in the hiring process. It is usually part of the background check procedures. Many employers typically conduct MVR checks after the initial screening but before making a job offer. However, this can vary based on company policies and the nature of the role.
- Engage a reliable screening service: Contract with a reputable screening service or third-party vendor specializing in MVR checks. These services have access to motor vehicle records databases and can provide accurate and up-to-date information.
- Collect required information: Gather the necessary information from the candidate, such as their full legal name, driver’s license number, and date of birth. This information is crucial for the screening service to retrieve the candidate’s accurate driving history.
- Comply with fair hiring practices: Ensure your MVR check process adheres to fair hiring practices and complies with anti-discrimination laws. Consistently apply the same standards to all candidates to avoid potential bias or discrimination claims.
- Review the MVR report: Once you receive the MVR report from the screening service, review it thoroughly. Assess the candidate’s driving history, paying attention to any significant violations, accidents, or patterns of unsafe behavior that may impact their suitability for the role.
- Use the information appropriately: Make hiring decisions based on relevant and job-related factors derived from the MVR check. Consider the nature of the job, its requirements, and any applicable legal or insurance requirements in your decision-making process.
- Maintain confidentiality: Treat the MVR report and related information as confidential. Follow appropriate data protection practices to safeguard the candidate’s privacy and comply with applicable regulations.
Running MVR Reports the Right Way
Overall, conducting MVR checks on new hires allows employers to make informed decisions, mitigate risks, promote safety, comply with legal obligations, and protect company assets.
Just be sure to conduct MVR checks consistently, in compliance with applicable laws, and in a manner that aligns with your organization’s policies and procedures. Consulting legal professionals or HR experts knowledgeable in your jurisdiction can provide further guidance specific to your organization’s needs.
Do you need customized guidance on your MVR checks and processes? Let BlueLion walk you through it and help you establish your policies! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-818-4131.
The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.