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Updated Oct 27, 2023

What Is an MVR Report, and Why Should You Conduct One? 

Will your new hire be driving on the job? Check their MVR report before you let them get in the car.

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Kaylyn McKenna, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
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Before you hire a new employee, it’s a good idea to conduct a background check to make sure that no surprises pop up and cause problems for your business. These background checks are used to verify candidate credentials such as education, work history or licensing. Many employers even conduct social media background checks. Motor vehicle record (MVR) checks are another important form of background check. They can ensure that your new employee represents your company well when they’re on the road during work hours or in company vehicles.

What is an MVR report?

An MVR report shows a person’s driving history. This data is typically provided by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is one of the many preemployment background checks that employers use when hiring new employees. Typically, an MVR report is conducted only if employees will be driving as a part of their job duties.

What information is on an MVR report?

An MVR report typically includes the following information:

  • Personally identifiable information, like their name, date of birth, address, height and weight
  • The status and history of their driver’s license, which can include license revocations, suspensions and different categories of licenses they’ve held, such as a commercial driver’s license
  • Collisions that the driver has experienced (and, in some states, who was at fault for the accident)
  • Infractions, such as speeding or other moving violations

MVR reports are typically meant to be done in conjunction with criminal record checks. Each state has its own policies on whether criminal charges, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or reckless driving, appear solely on a person’s criminal record or if they also appear on an MVR report.

Did You Know?Did you know
An MVR is frequently considered a consumer report and is subject to Fair Credit Reporting Act compliance requirements. Employers need to follow proper FCRA protocol for the collection and use of these reports when making hiring decisions.

Why employers should run MVR reports

Running an MVR report helps you determine whether a potential hire has a history of unsafe driving activity. If you are hiring someone for a role that requires driving, it’s a good idea to verify that they are a responsible driver with a valid license. If you accidentally allow an unlicensed employee to drive on behalf of your company, the business may face consequences if they cause an accident or injure someone.

You don’t need to run an MVR report for an employee who will simply commute to and from work in their own car. However, you should get an MVR report for an employee who needs to drive for business purposes, even when it isn’t the main component of their role. For example, assistants who run errands or pick up catering for meetings or office lunches technically drive for work. You don’t want someone driving recklessly and getting into an accident while completing business activities.

It’s also important to remember that your employees are representing you while they’re driving for work, especially if they’re operating a company vehicle. If they are driving unsafely or aggressively, people may view your business as unprofessional. Even if your employees are in their own cars, you don’t want clients, partners or vendors to see them driving badly when they make deliveries, do pickups or attend meetings.

Another reason an employer may want to run a preemployment motor vehicle report is to ensure that the employee will get coverage under your commercial vehicle policy if they are hired. These checks can also be performed by the insurance company, which will then let you know if the employee is eligible to be added to your policy. Insurance companies often deny drivers with DUIs, license suspensions or a large number of recent traffic infractions.

TipTip
There is no national database for driving records. If an applicant has moved in the past few years, you may want to pull an MVR report on them in their current and previous state of residence to get a clearer picture of their driving history.

How far back does an MVR report go?

How far back an MVR report will go will depend on a couple of factors. The biggest one is the state from which you receive the report. On average, an MVR report will go back at least three years, but some states give you seven to 10 years of history. 

States have different look-back periods depending on the type of action or offense being reported. For example, the California DMV reports collisions on an MVR report for three years, except collisions involving commercial vehicles, which are reported for 10 years. Similarly, there are different look-back periods for standard moving violation convictions, DUIs and moving-violation convictions obtained in a commercial vehicle. A California MVR report could go back anywhere from three years to 55 years depending on whether the driver had a more standard driving history or one with major commercial violations. 

How to get an MVR report for an employee

Most employers choose a background check service to help them run MVR reports. This is usually the most efficient and convenient option, especially since most background check providers will be able to run MVR reports, criminal background checks, education verification and any other forms of background reporting you want to obtain. Choosing a trusted provider can help you ensure that you are running reports in a compliant manner while also streamlining the preemployment background check process.

You can also get an MVR report from your state’s DMV office. The process varies slightly depending on the state. Typically, an employee must sign a DMV form that authorizes you to obtain a copy of their MVR report. This option may be cheaper than using a background check service, but it is also typically less efficient.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Obtaining a motor vehicle record report is fairly quick and inexpensive. A major myth about background checks is that they are too time-consuming or cost-prohibitive for small businesses.

What is MVR monitoring?

Some companies choose to go beyond running an MVR report and opt for continuous MVR monitoring. With ongoing MVR monitoring, you can keep an eye on your employees’ motor vehicle reports and receive alerts when there is a change, such as an accident, ticket, suspension or other infraction. This can provide employers with some extra peace of mind and security.

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Kaylyn McKenna, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
For more than 10 years, Kaylyn McKenna has studied the ins and outs of the workplace experience. With guidance designed to help both employers and employees, she advises on workplace matters affecting small businesses. This has ranged from providing recommendations on HRO and PEO services to sharing pointers on job interviews and managing increasing workloads. Her expertise has been trusted by JobGet, Business Management Daily and others. McKenna holds a bachelor's degree in business administration. While pursuing her master's in industrial and organizational psychology, she focused on relevant topics like organizational change, high-performance teamwork and customer relations. McKennna has also led webinars on workplace happiness and unconscious bias in the workplace. With her additional interest in e-commerce and finance, McKenna's work has appeared in Forbes, CBS News and Accounting.com.
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