As an employer, you have a responsibility to put safe drivers behind the wheel when they are driving for your business. Checking driver Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) is one way to do this. MVRs can give you information about a driver’s accidents, traffic violations and license status. This can help you decide whether or not someone is a good candidate for a driving position within your organization. Checking MVRs is quick and easy, and it could help you avoid putting unsafe drivers on the road.
When to check MVRs
It is highly recommended to check driving records for any employee who will regularly be driving in the course of their employment as they fulfill their job duties. The standard of care – in a court of law or in the eye of the public opinion – can be higher for certain businesses, such as those who operate heavy vehicles, transport people or hazardous materials, or for public safety organizations such as fire departments and police departments.
When should your organization consider checking MVRs?
- Prior to the start of driver training (ex: when an employee transitions from a non-driving role to a driving role)
- Regularly after hire (ex: annually or every three years)
- On an ongoing/continuous basis
MVRs can be obtained from a local DMV/BMV office. There are a variety of third-party vendors who can check MVRs on a standalone basis or simultaneously while providing other employment-related screening services (ex: running background checks, credit checks or I9 verifications).
Policies/procedures and HR considerations
Whenever an employee will be driving on the job, clearly define driving responsibilities in their job description. Note that employees with driving responsibilities must maintain a valid driver’s license in accordance with the state and/or federal guidelines that apply to the vehicles they will be operating.
Auto insurance companies may not insure a driver who has a bad driving record. Consider checking with your auto insurance company to find out what their MVR standards are. Then you can establish written MVR standards for your organization that are in sync with your insurance program.
Many accidents and tickets occur outside of working hours. In these cases, you may be unaware that your employee has received a citation or even had their license suspended. Don’t wait to find out about these issues. Consider implementing a requirement that employees with driving responsibilities must report traffic citations and accidents to management in real time. This self-reporting can eliminate the lag time before you would otherwise make the discovery during a regularly scheduled MVR check – especially if you are only checking MVRs once a year or even less frequently.
Employing safe drivers limits your organization’s liabilities on the road and helps reduce employee injuries, both to themselves and their coworkers. Supplement good driver training and safety programs with great hiring practices and written policies. Show your employees that you care by keeping them safe and surrounding them with other safe, like-minded people.
As always, before implementing these or any other policies or procedures, be sure to consult with your legal and/or HR professionals to make sure you are in compliance with applicable state and federal employment laws, as well as any potential collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Progressive Insurance: What is an MVR?
SHRM: Background Check Policy and Procedure
Travelers Insurance: Driver & Fleet Safety
VFIS: SOG Sample – Driving Record Review
VFIS: SOG Sample – Motor Vehicle Record Check