What To Keep in Mind When Performing Driver and MVR Screens

Hiring a new employee often involves the same steps each time, especially when you look at an individual's credentials and consider their background. A criminal background check is very common and often considered a best practice for most businesses. However, you may also need to consider other types of background checks. Do the activities of your business center around transportation, or are there job duties that will involve operating a vehicle?

Whether we're discussing a prospective new truck driver or considering an individual delivering pizzas for a mom-and-pop shop, a motor vehicle report, or MVR, should be a part of your hiring pipeline. In some industries, this is a requirement—in others, it's an important but optional element of due diligence that can offer important insights. What do you need to know when you're looking into using a driver background check?

What Exactly is a Motor Vehicle Report?

In short, an MVR is a type of screening product that reveals a person's history behind the wheel rather than their history with the criminal justice system. An MVR is a very useful tool for evaluating someone's safety record. Like background checks, it cannot predict someone's future behavior behind the wheel. However, these reports give you the best chance to identify potentially problematic and dangerous candidates and avoid hiring them. A clean MVR is a potentially good sign for a candidate.

Who Needs to Use MVR Report Tools? 

Any employer who intends to put employees behind the wheel should look into motor vehicle records as a matter of due diligence, even if it is not necessarily a legal requirement. An MVR check might not be appropriate for a warehouse forklift operator, but it would be for the truck driver that collects stock from the warehouse. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation has strict background check requirements for those industries it regulates, especially over-the-road trucking businesses. 

How to Obtain a Motor Vehicle Record

You will first need to have your account approved for running driving searches, and some states require the submission of additional paperwork before they will release such information. Driving records are private information and thus subject to more controls than criminal records. With backgroundchecks.com, finding the results you need is simple—once you furnish us with the necessary information and subject data, we handle the entire process for you. You'll receive a convenient and easy-to-read report at the end of the process.

How Long Will It Take to Receive an MVR?

The answer varies based on the state, as every state reports information to consumer agencies slightly differently. Processing times can be very short, but in jurisdictions where backlogs and other problems may occur, returning a motor vehicle record could take several days. Typically, there is a delay of three business days, during which we must verify business information before granting access to driving records. Factoring turnaround times into your hiring process is an important step.

What Will Appear on This Report?

With an MVR, you can learn about an individual's history and current status as a licensed driver. Alongside name and basic driver’s license information, the reports you review will usually include information such as:

  • Type or class of license
  • License endorsements
  • License suspensions
  • License restrictions
  • Special license information
  • Records of traffic law violations, civil or criminal citations, and point assessments
  • Accident reports - if the named individual was cited as at fault in the accident.
  • License issue date and expiration.

With this information, you can better develop an informed opinion of any job applicant.

What To Evaluate On an MVR

You should inspect several elements carefully as you consider an applicant's motor vehicle records. Some portions of the report may be less relevant to you than others based on the position and role of the job. Here's a quick overview of the main elements to consider:

  • The driver's comprehensive history of safety. Have they received citations for causing accidents? Do they receive many citations in general?
  • Is their license active and valid in your area? Is it suspended?
  • Do they have the correct endorsements and qualifications to operate the vehicles your business uses?
  • Does the license currently contain any restrictions?

A close reading of the MVR can give you essential insights into how someone behaves behind the wheel and indicate how they might perform on the job. 

Hiring Safe Drivers Demands Your Due Diligence

Trusting someone enough to hire them to work in your business does not automatically mean you should trust them as your representative behind the wheel of a vehicle. Those who are perfectly capable in the workplace might not be quite so skilled on the road. No matter what position you hire for, you should always screen their driving history if their job duties involve operating a vehicle. That advice is doubly important when it comes to DOT-regulated positions.

With the right tools, a clear understanding of how to use them, and a commitment to diligent screening, you can ensure you've done everything possible to put a safe driver to work.


Does Uber use background checks?

Yes. Despite many high-profile lapses in the company's earlier days, Uber and other ride-sharing companies require background checks and motor vehicle record checks for their drivers. These decisions reflect the fact that checking MVR is a best practice.

How far back do trucking providers usually check?

The answer will depend on your jurisdiction, but the typical answer falls somewhere between three and seven years. DOT background check requirements demand that employers look at an applicant's driving history in every state in which they were licensed to drive for the previous three years.

Will a speeding ticket show up on a report?

Yes, speeding violations will appear on MVRs, and employers may consider them part of the screening process.

What about DUIs?

Yes, DUIs will also appear on the MVR. Even though this is typically considered a criminal record, it is also a moving violation under traffic law.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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