Everything You Want to Know About Motor Vehicle Records

Checking motor vehicle records (MVRs), although seemingly small, is an integral part when making informed business decisions. Every time your employee gets behind the wheel, your company involves fleet management, a requirement put in place by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA requires fleet management – when left to fall to the wayside, there is the potential for a significant impact on your company’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability score while also protecting you from unforeseen risk.

When thinking about such nuanced requirements from the FMCSA, a variety of questions crop up. We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked below.

What information does a motor vehicle record provide?

An MVR checks any endorsements the driver has for passenger cars, motorcycles, commercial trucks and buses.
Although the information varies (as some states keep records going back three years, while others keep records as far as ten years), MVRs provide information on:

  • Accident reports
  • Traffic violations
  • DUI convictions
  • License suspensions
  • Vehicular crimes
  • Unpaid summons
  • Insurance lapses

Does continuously pulling MVRs really matter?

Absolutely. Driving history is a predictor of how a candidate will drive as your employee and can help you avoid hiring a bad driver. Prior accidents, violations or suspensions are solid indicators that the candidate may be a risk to your company if hired. Once hired, knowing about new violations they receive can help you spot potential problems and proactively intervene.

How often should we be pulling our driver records?

FMCSA regulations require carriers to pull and review a candidate’s MVR before hiring them as a driver, with a subsequent pull every 12 months. This is the minimum required to remain compliant under federal law, however doing the minimum is a risky way to run a fleet. Having large gaps between MVR pulls or relying on self-reporting can leave your company vulnerable to liability.

Being aware of new citations, license suspension or other high-risk behavior right after it occurs helps you reduce the potential of fines incurred or a crash in a company vehicle. It can also help avoid costs surrounding potential litigation, settlements or judgments.

Is it possible to check MVRs too often?

Yes, as is with everything in life, checking MVRs is not free. This is where a monitoring service can be your best friend – risk solutions monitor state violation databases and court records to determine if a new MVR pull is required, saving time and money associated with unnecessary MVR pulls.

Is an MVR check all that’s needed before hiring a driver?

No. While a candidate’s MVR is probably the best barometer of their safe-driving and risk potential, it is not the only record you should be checking. See below for a list of checks and tests to consider so you can build a complete profile of your candidate (note: some of these are required by law as part of your pre-hire screening):

  • Criminal records checks – put added weight on motor vehicle-related convictions or convictions for controlled substances.
  • Drug and alcohol tests – legally required by the FMCSA, the Department of Transportation has a standard drug panel needing to be run pre-employment.
  • Employment verification – candidates have been known to lie on their applications. Verifying work record indicates their potential as a reliable employee.
  • License check – applicants need to have the right type of valid license, meaning it cannot be suspended, revoked or have any severe restrictions.
  • Motor vehicle records check – the FMCSA requires you to look at records from every state where an applicant has been licensed within the last three years. Offenses like reckless driving and DUIs indicate a pattern of high-risk driving.
  • Physical health exam – another FMCSA requirement, this ensures applicants are healthy enough to drive for long periods.
  • Pre-Employment Screening Program records and scores – created to help streamline driver information for employers, combined with motor vehicle records, it gives employers a complete picture of an applicant’s driving.