Obtaining and staying on top of motor vehicle records (MVRs) is critical to maintaining a strong safety culture for your company’s drivers. Driver MVRs are necessary to ensure that your employees are legally qualified to drive and stay within the standards set in your safety policy.
In today’s world, roads have become more dangerous to navigate due to the rise in distracted and impaired driving, speeding and other reckless behaviors. Additionally, around 3 to 5% of individuals on the roads are driving with a suspended license, which poses an extreme risk to your company and the population as a whole.
In this blog, we explore the fundamentals of an employee MVR, including:
- What is an MVR?
- Are all MVRs the same?
- How far back do MVR reports go?
- How much do MVRs cost?
- Why is the review of a driver MVR so critical?
Let’s start from the beginning.
What Is an MVR?
An MVR is a compilation of an individual’s driving records, including both recent and past incidents and violations. It is maintained and administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in each specific state.
Typically, an MVR includes personal information about the driver, their license number and status, violations and convictions, suspensions and revocations, license and permit information as well as other miscellaneous data that may be provided by the state. If violations or crashes are reported, additional information such as violation descriptions, locations, incident dates, conviction dates and points may also be included.
Are all MVRs the Same?
It’s important to note that DMVs do not have a standardized format for MVRs, so the information included can vary greatly depending on the state. Furthermore, while driver violations are typically categorized by standardized codes found in the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) Code Dictionary, not all states report the same codes, making it difficult to analyze driver data.
For example, a violation in one state may report that the driver was SPEEDING 15 mph or more (S15) while another will list the same violation as SPEEDING 45 in a 30 (S92) if they are provided with more specific detail surrounding the violation. This requires those reviewing MVRs to determine how similar violations correspond to tens of thousands of codes.
How Far Back Do MVR Reports Go?
The timeframe covered by an MVR varies by state, with some providing as little as three years of driving history and others going as far back as seven years.
How Much Do MVRs Cost?
The cost of accessing MVRs also varies by state, with an average fee of $10-12 nationwide. Some states offer MVRs for as little as a few dollars and others charge closer to $28.
Why Is The Review of a Driver MVR So Critical?
Ensure Legal Compliance
Reviewing MVRs is critical for legal compliance because it helps companies comply with industry regulations, minimize liability and demonstrate their commitment to safety and responsible driving practices. By maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of driver qualifications and performance, employers can demonstrate compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, which can help to avoid fines and penalties.
To start, companies under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations must conduct MVR checks during the hiring process. Failing to comply with this can result in legal consequences and penalties. For certain industries, such as transportation, ongoing MVR checks are mandated by federal regulations. Failure to comply can result in legal penalties, fines and even the loss of operating licenses.
In the event of a crash, companies can also use MVRs to demonstrate that they took reasonable precautions to ensure that their drivers were safe and qualified. This can help to mitigate legal liability and protect the company from costly litigation.
Improve Driver Safety
Reviewing MVRs ensures that drivers are legally qualified to drive and that they meet the safety standards set in the company’s safety policy. This helps to reduce the risk of crashes and improves driver safety. Employers can identify drivers who have a history of risky behavior, such as speeding, reckless driving or driving under the influence. This information can then be used to implement corrective measures, such as additional training or disciplinary action, to help these drivers improve their behavior on the road.
Moreover, MVRs can help employers ensure that their drivers are qualified to operate company vehicles. For example, an MVR can confirm that a driver has a valid license, the appropriate type of license for their role and no history of license suspensions or revocations. By verifying these qualifications, employers can ensure that their drivers are legally allowed to drive and have the necessary skills and training to operate company vehicles safely.
As mentioned, reviewing MVRs can also help to minimize a company’s liability in the event of an incident or crash. It shows that the company took reasonable steps to ensure that its employees were qualified to drive and that they met the company’s safety standards. This can be important in defending against claims of negligence, and may also help to reduce the damages awarded in the event of a lawsuit.
This process also ensures that they have taken appropriate measures to hire and retain qualified drivers. By regularly reviewing MVRs post-hire, employers can identify drivers with poor driving records or other issues that may increase the risk of crashes, violations and other incidents. By taking action to address these issues, employers can demonstrate that they are taking proactive steps to promote safety and reduce risk.
Reduce Insurance Rates
Insurance companies use MVRs to determine the risk of insuring drivers and fleets. They consider factors such as the number of violations, crashes and suspensions when setting rates. By regularly reviewing MVRs and taking corrective action, employers can reduce the likelihood of crashes and violations, which can lead to lower insurance premiums. This demonstrates to insurers that the employer is taking proactive steps to prevent crashes and minimize liability, which will likely reduce insurance rates over time.
Protect a Company’s Reputation
A company’s reputation can suffer greatly if its drivers are involved in crashes or other incidents. By reviewing MVRs, companies can identify and address potential issues before they become bigger problems that damage their reputation. If an incident does occur, being able to demonstrate that the company has taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of its drivers and the public can help protect its reputation and limit potential damage to its brand image.
Tap Into the Hidden Value of Driver MVRs
To learn more about how to better analyze an employee MVR and ensure all of your drivers meet the necessary standards set in your safety policy, download our free guide, “MVRs 101: Everything You Need to Know About Using Motor Vehicle Records in Your Safety Program.” We dive further into each of the fundamentals explored above and provide additional strategies for employers to elevate the effectiveness of their driver safety programs.