When hiring within the transportation industry, a general background check often doesn't go deep enough to provide the information needed to make a good hiring choice. It’s why many employers turn to the motor vehicle check. This screening can be a valuable tool to use in the hiring process to gain insight into a potential candidate's driving safety and skills.
Whether you run a fleet of big rigs or a start-up delivery service, you don’t want to entrust the company vehicle to an unqualified driver. Doing so could put your company at risk of costly vehicle damages, or worse, charges of criminal negligence.
Don’t take the applicant’s word for it that they have a clean record—find out for yourself with an MVR check. Learn more about MVR checks, what they show, and why they are essential.
What Is an MVR Check?
An MVR Check screens a person's MVR (motor vehicle record) for information about their driving history. The data gets pulled directly from a state's Department of Motor Vehicles database.
MVR Checks are also often referred to as driving records checks, MVR reports, or driver's license verification.
Companies run MVR checks during the background check process when hiring for transportation-related positions. They confirm a reliable driving record, including driver safety and compliance with driving laws.
Since it's a consumer report, employers utilizing an MVR check must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, fully disclosing the check and getting authorization from the driver to obtain their driving record.
What Does an MVR Check Show?
The information reported in an MVR check depends on the state, the industry, and the position.
The most common information discovered through MVR checks includes information on any violations, crimes, and basic driving information:
- Full name and license number
- License expiration date
- Date of birth
- Sex, height, and weight
- Hair color and eye color
- License status and any driving restrictions
- License issue date
- Type of license (commercial driver's license, etc.)
It can also include accident reports, moving traffic violations, driving record points, and license suspensions. If the driver has ever committed any vehicular crimes, this may also appear.
Some states maintain records dating back three years, while others may hold records for up to 10 years.
If hiring a commercial driver, employers will need to request MVRs in each state where the individual held a CDL license within the previous three years.
Employers may also require annual MVR checks as a part of their evaluation and review process to ensure continued compliance.
Why Is an MVR Check Important During the Background Check Process?
MVR checks may be necessary for all sorts of jobs that affect public and employee safety. Some roles that merit an MVR check include a truck driving, limo or shuttle driver, ambulance driver, construction machinery operator, or warehouse machinery operator.
Just as a hospital would need to verify a doctor's medical license before letting them treat patients, employers hiring for these transportation and machinery-related roles must use MVR checks before extending a job offer.
It's crucial to find candidates with good-standing driver’s licenses, required endorsements (such as a commercial driver's license), and a clean record of operating moving vehicles.
This screening isn’t just about protecting the company vehicle. If the driver is involved in an incident while driving for your company, and it comes to light that you did not run an MVR check, you could face a lawsuit for negligent hiring. Employers have a responsibility to perform due diligence to protect the safety of the workplace and the employees.
This due diligence ensures that, as an employer, you hire drivers well-qualified for their roles. It reduces the risk of liability.
Further, any industries regulated beneath the Department of Transportation, such as logistics and trucking, are required by federal law to obtain these MVR reports before hiring a candidate.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far back does an MVR report go?
The depth of a motor vehicle report mostly depends on the state. Most states limit the data to three to five years, but some states, like Wyoming, include data that dates as far back as ten years.
What should employers look for in MVRs?
Employers should look for suspensions, violations, points, and accidents. The license should also be in good standing with no restrictions or current suspension. Additionally, certain roles may require a specific license or endorsement, like a CDL. Employers may need to verify that as well.
When hiring for the transportation industry, don't take any risks. Your standard background check isn’t enough to confirm an applicant’s driving history. Ensure you're hiring the right candidates for the job by performing an in-depth MVR check and protect your employees, the public, and your company