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MVR Check for Employers: What You Need to Know

mvr checks

If you are hiring candidates that will be driving or operating machinery as part of their jobs, it’s important to check their driving records before you extend a job offer.

Failing to perform a motor vehicle records (MVR) check during the hiring process could put your company at risk for lawsuits, property damage, and reputational harm.

Did you know that an employer was found liable for negligently hiring a California truck driver who struck a pedestrian while driving a company-owned vehicle?

At iprospectcheck, we conduct comprehensive driving records checks for employers across many industries. We wrote this guide about MVR checks for you to use as a reference.

Let’s get started.

What is an Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) Check and What Does It Include?

A motor vehicle record (MVR) check reveals a person’s driving history and typically includes the following:

  • Driver’s license number
  • Full legal name
  • License expiration date
  • Birthdate
  • Physical descriptors, including weight, gender, height, hair color, eye color, and photograph
  • Issuance date
  • License type
  • Traffic violations
  • Accident reports
  • Traffic crimes
  • License suspensions
  • Assessed points

Additionally, an MVR check also provides answers to important questions, including:

1. Did the Applicant Report the Right Driver’s License Number?

An MVR records check can help you to confirm an applicant’s license number. This type of information can also help to verify an applicant’s identity.

2. Is the applicant’s or employee’s license valid?

When you request a driving records check, you will receive information showing whether the applicant’s or employee’s license is valid or if it has been suspended, revoked, or restricted.

3. Is the applicant or employee insurable?

Your company’s auto insurer will refuse to insure incompetent drivers you hire to drive a fleet vehicle.

For example, if you hire someone with major traffic violations or multiple minor traffic offenses on his or her record, your insurance company will likely refuse to insure him or her.

4. Does the applicant or employee have the right qualifications?

Some jobs require drivers to have commercial driver’s licenses, specific license endorsements, or chauffer’s licenses.

A motor vehicle records check will show you the type of license your applicant or employee holds, the classes of vehicles he or she is authorized to drive, and any endorsements he or she has.

5. Is the applicant responsible?

If you learn that an applicant has numerous traffic offenses, it might indicate that he or she is not responsible.

Why are MVR Checks Important?

Checking your applicants’ and employees’ driving records as a part of your company’s background check process can help you in the following ways:

  • Verify their drivers’ licenses are in good standing.
  • Confirm that your candidates have safe driving records and have the right types of licenses.
  • Minimize your company’s risk of liability and maintain your company’s safety protocols.
  • Protect your company’s reputation in the community and protect your brand.
  • Safeguard your customers, employees, assets, and the public.

Which Job Positions Require an MVR Check?

Driving records checks are especially important for the following types of jobs:

• Delivery workers – You should include a motor vehicle check as a part of a background screen for any employee who will deliver packages or documents for your company, including local delivery drivers, couriers, messengers, flower delivery drivers, and others.

• Ambulance drivers – If you are an ambulance company, you should conduct driving records checks of any candidate whose work will involve driving ambulances.

• Commercial truck drivers – If you hire commercial truck drivers, you are required under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations to complete DOT-compliant background checks, including driving records checks. You must also conduct ongoing checks at least annually or after an accident.

Commercial trucking carriers must also obtain driving records from each state in which a commercial truck driver has been licensed in the past three years.

• Bus drivers– If you are a church, school, tour company, or bus company that hires people to drive buses, you must conduct driving records checks to protect your organization, your customers, and the public.

• Construction workers – Any construction worker who will operate trucks or heavy machinery should undergo a driving records check to reduce the risk of construction site accidents and liability.

• Law enforcement officers – Law enforcement agencies in all states must conduct comprehensive background and driving records checks on all prospective police officers.

• Taxi drivers and other transport workers– Taxi companies in every state are required to conduct thorough background checks, including driving records checks, on each applicant.

DOT-regulated companies must conduct MVR checks and drug tests during the pre-employment screening process and continue to perform checks of their existing employees on an ongoing basis.

While motor vehicle records checks are unnecessary for some types of jobs, if your employees drive as a part of their jobs, you should check their driving records.

Your company can be vicariously liable for accidents your employees cause while they are driving for business purposes.

A single accident caused by an employee can drive up your insurance rates, harm your reputation, and result in protracted and expensive litigation.

How to Get a Motor Vehicle Report

There are three ways to get a motor vehicle report for a prospective hire that are discussed below.

1. Ask the Applicant to Get a Copy of their Motor Vehicle Records

Some companies ask their applicants to request copies of their motor vehicle records. This approach offers both pros and cons.

An advantage of having an applicant get a copy of their MVR is that it saves time expended by human resources to obtain the report.

However, there are two disadvantages to obtaining an MVR this way.

First, if you ask the applicant to request a certified copy of their MVR, it could take a week or longer before it arrives. Second, if you allow the applicant to obtain uncertified electronic copies of the MVR, it increases the risk the applicant could alter them.

2. Order Reports Directly From the State Department of Motor Vehicle

Some employers opt to order the records directly from their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

The advantage of this approach is that it removes the risk the candidate will alter them.

However, there are a couple of disadvantages to ordering the records yourself. First, your staff will have to spend more time getting the driving records, which increases your labor costs.

Second, it can be difficult to interpret the different codes and formats included in state motor vehicle records reports.

3. Partnering With a Reliable Third-Party Provider

The best option is to work with a reliable third-party background check provider like iprospectcheck to order your MVR reports as a part of your employment screening process.

This allows your HR staff to concentrate on other important tasks instead of spending time trying to order reports. It also helps to prevent candidates from altering the reports.

Finally, working with iprospectcheck allows you to quickly obtain all the information you need to make fast hiring decisions.

Because of our access to advanced research methods, we can quickly return driving records reports and background checks to our clients.

Driving Record Check Laws 2022

There are several federal laws governing driving record checks that you should know, including the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Industry-specific regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also govern transportation carriers, and state background check laws might also generally apply to companies performing driving record checks.

Let’s take a look at a few of these laws.

Federal Laws

Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

The Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) was enacted in 1994 to protect the privacy of consumer information held by state departments of motor vehicles (DMVs).

Before a state DMV can release private information contained in motor vehicle records, permission from the individual for whom the information is sought must be obtained.

If a consumer reporting agency discloses information to an employer in violation of the act, or an employer obtains the information for a non-permissible purpose, the individual who is the subject of the report can file a civil lawsuit and seek actual and punitive damages.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) governs how consumer reporting agencies can collect, gather, and disseminate private consumer information and how employers can use the information they receive in background checks.

When an employer receives negative information about an applicant on a background check, they must complete the adverse action process before they decide not to hire the applicant based on that information.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on an applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics.

It applies to background checks when a report reveals an applicant has a criminal conviction.

If an employer learns about an applicant’s criminal traffic conviction on a driving records check, they must assess the conviction as it relates to the job for which the applicant is under consideration before deciding not to hire them.

Industry Laws

Trucking carriers must comply with the rules of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) when conducting employment background checks and driving records checks on applicants.

Driving Records Checks for Commercial Truck Drivers

Before an applicant can be hired to drive commercial trucks, a trucking carrier must complete a driving record check that complies with the requirements of 49 CFR Part 391, § 391.23.

The requirements include the following:

  • Check each jurisdiction in which the applicant has held a license or permit during the past three years within 30 days of the applicant’s start date
  • Investigate the driver’s safety history with DOT-regulated employers within the past three years
  • Retain copies of the motor vehicle records obtained from each licensing authority in the driver’s qualification file within 30 days
  • Not hire a driver who has been disqualified

State Laws

State laws about driving record checks vary. Some states have enacted ban-the-box laws that control the point at which employers can conduct background checks during the hiring process.

To learn about the laws that apply in your state, you should consult your legal counsel.

How Do I Stay Compliant When Running an MVR Check?

To avoid costly litigation, it’s important to comply with all relevant laws when running an MVR check.

Here’s what you need to consider.

1. Provide Notice and Get Consent in Writing

When you work with a third-party background check provider to get information about an applicant’s background and driving records, you must notify him or her that you intend to do so in writing under the FCRA.

You also must obtain consent in writing before conducting a driving records check.

2. Comply With Any Applicable Ban-the-Box Laws

If you live in a state, county, or city with a ban-the-box law, you might be required to wait to conduct a background check until later in the hiring process, including after an interview or once you have extended a conditional offer of employment.

3. Apply Your Company’s Policy Evenly

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees based on their protected characteristics.

To avoid potential liability under this law, make sure that you apply your company’s background and driving records check policies evenly to avoid disparate impact discrimination claims.

4. Complete Individual Assessments of Criminal Records

If the background and driving records checks reveal that an applicant has a criminal conviction, you must assess it as it directly applies to the duties of the position before making an adverse job decision under guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

5. Send a Pre-Adverse Action Notice

If you decide against hiring an applicant based on information from a background check, you must send a pre-adverse action notice. Give the applicant a few days to challenge and correct the information before making a final decision.

6. Send a Final Adverse Action Notice

If you ultimately decide not to hire the applicant after completing the adverse action process, send a final adverse action notice and include a copy of his or her rights under state law and the FCRA.

FAQs: Motor Vehicle Record Checks

1. What does MVR mean?

MVR stands for motor vehicle report, which is a type of background check of an applicant’s driving record.

Employers that hire employees who are required to drive as a part of their jobs often request MVR checks as an integral part of their screening process.

2. How long does an MVR report take?

If you order an MVR report from your state, most have online databases you can use to request MVR reports. In some cases, you might receive them within the same day.

If you request a report through iprospectcheck, we are often able to return MVR checks instantly.

3. How far back does an MVR background check go?

Driving checks are a type of background check and are covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws. How far back a driving record check will go depends on your state.

The FCRA has a seven-year lookback period for most types of information other than criminal convictions for positions paying less than $75,000 per year.

However, driving records checks have lookback periods ranging from three to seven years. In most states, information on a motor vehicle record will only go back three years.

iprospectcheck: Your Partner for Employment MVR & Background Check Services

If your employees are required to drive as a part of their jobs, you should check their driving records in addition to checking other relevant background data such as employment records or educational history.

Keep in mind that MVR checks are just one component of a thorough background screen. At iprospectcheck, we can help you develop a comprehensive background check process that helps you make smarter hiring decisions.

Because of our extensive resources and knowledge, we can often return driving records and other background information to our clients in as little as a few hours.

To learn more about the background check services we provide, contact iprospectcheck today: 888-808-9997

DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

Know Before You Hire

About the Author
Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers

Matthew J. Rodgers is a highly accomplished business executive with over 30 years of experience providing strategic vision and leadership to companies ranging from the fortune 500 to iprospectcheck, a company which he co-founded over a decade ago. Matthew is a valued consultant who is dedicated to helping companies create and implement efficient, cost effective and compliant employment screening programs. Matt has been a member of the Professional Background Screeners Association since 2009 . When not focused on iprospectcheck, he can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing, or occasionally running the wild rivers of the American west. A lifetime member of American Whitewater, Matt is passionate about protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers.