On the face of it an MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) check can seem like just one more box to check off during your hiring process. But MVR checks play an important role in keeping your workplace safe and drug-free as well as in compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

MVR checks will help you:

  • Keep your workplace accident-free

  • Keep your workplace drug-free

  • Keep your auto insurance costs in check

  • Comply with DOT regulations

What an MVR check tells you

An MVR summarizes the licensed driver’s history. The information is collected and reported based on the individual’s license and the state issuing that license, not the location of any listed incident.

Generated by each individual state’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), the MVR is an official report of a licensed driver’s status and history. It is recognized and accepted by insurance companies and the DOT as an official driving record. This report can also be used in the hiring process, as part of an annual review of driver qualifications, and to stay in compliance with DOT regulations.

The MVR will list if the driver has any of the following incidents on their driving record:

  • Accidents

  • Traffic violations

  • License suspensions

  • Vehicular crimes

  • Points

  • Driving restrictions

Depending on the state, the MVR will cover as few as three or as many as ten years of the driver’s history. At the very least you will want to collect the MVR from every state that the driver is or has been licensed in for the past three years to make sure there are no gaps in your review and records.

You can either request the MVR directly from each DMV or use an agency to make the request as part of a background check.

MVR checks help keep your workplace accident-free

Knowing how expensive and disruptive accidents can be, most employers prefer drivers who have demonstrated an accident-free and violation-free driving history.

The MVR presents evidence of the driver’s habits and practices. (Learn more in 8 Important Ergonomic Aids For Drivers). It provides a reference point for whether the driver operates motor vehicles safely and within the law. Assuming that a driver with an accident-free history will continue to drive safely and within the law can point to that driver avoiding accidents on the job in the future.

This is not to say that a driver must have a spotless record to be considered for employment. What constitutes a “bad” driving record can vary depending on the requirements of the specific job and circumstance. Not every accident is a major incident. Some driving conditions are more difficult than others. For example, driving in a congested city center or during a serious storm. Also, a driver can be involved in an accident without being the one who caused it.

License suspensions and vehicular crimes are generally serious incidents and present red flags.

MVR checks help keep your workplace drug-free

Much like a history of accidents, incidents of Driving Under The Influence (DUI) present on an MVR indicate the driver’s past habits and practices.

Repeated DUIs can be an indication of chronic substance abuse or addiction. This would be a red flag, especially with workplaces that have a strict drug-free policy.

MVR checks help keep your business’s insurance rates in check

Chances are your insurance agent is going to want to see your drivers’ MVRs. They will use this information, in part, to set your insurance rates.

Having a conversation with your insurance agent about the effect MVRs have on policies can be very informative. It can help you understand which types of violations are considered more serious and should, at all costs, be avoided.

In general, safer, accident-free drivers pose less risk than those who have a history of repeated accidents, traffic violations, DUIs, etc. Safer drivers can mean lower insurance rates.

DOT regulations call for annual MVR reviews

MVR checks are specifically required by DOT (§391.51) to be collected and stored in every driver’s Driver Qualification File (DQF). The contents of DQFs are mandated and include MVRs from all states where the driver is licensed.

Due to DOT regulations, MVR checks are not needed just for job candidates or newly hired drivers. Every DQF needs to document the most recent three years of each licensed driver’s history that you employ.

In addition to collecting and keeping the MVR on file, DOT requires employers to collect up-to-date MVRs and review them annually (§391.25). The employer must also document that they have reviewed the updated MVR and confirmed that the driver remains qualified to operate commercial motor vehicles and meets minimum requirements for safe driving.

MVR checks keep people safe

MVR checks serve more than one purpose. They are helpful in the hiring process and will keep your company in-compliance with DOT regulations. Ultimately MVR checks provide you, your employees, and your community the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the drivers you are putting on the road are safe drivers.