What is an MVR background check and why is it important?

June 10 2021
4 min read

An MVR check stands for “Motor Vehicle Report” check or “Motor Vehicle Record” check. It provides a comprehensive look at an individual's driving history. For business owners, this is an important tool to protect their company's drivers and customers. That's why it's essential to screen every driver as part of the hiring process and have regular MVR rechecks, or monitor them during employment.

By hiring people with safe driving records, you significantly reduce the liability risk posed to your company due to accidents and bad driving. Here is a look at what shows up on an MVR check.

Need an MVR check for your prospective hires? Speak with our team.

What shows up on an MVR check?

An MVR is a candidate's driving record. It can give you recent or historical information on someone's performance on the road.

The information provided may include:

  • The license number verified
  • Name on license
  • Issue date
  • Expiration date
  • License class
  • License status
  • Class description

If a traffic violation or accident is reported, the violation information may include any of the following information (if provided):

  • Violation description
  • Violation location
  • Incident date
  • Conviction date
  • Points

If suspended, a reinstatement date and if a commercial vehicle was involved. 

How far back does an MVR check go?

Each state has a different law regarding how far back you can review someone's driving record. The majority of the states allow you to look at a driving record somewhere between 3-7 years, with three being the most common. 

Each check requires getting MVR records from the state department of motor vehicles or a similar office.  

What about a driver who lived in more than one state?

Non-regulated employers are not required to pull an MVR report for every state the applicant has resided in for the past seven years. However, it may be a good idea if the individual is driving for business purposes.

One important reason that you should have each state checked is that not all states carry violations over from another state. So if a driver has a driving under the influence charge in New York, there is no guarantee it will show up on a driving record if he or she moves.  

Generally, even if the individual is not driving for business purposes, an MVR report may provide valuable information about an individual's character if you are hiring for a position of trust.

For regulated driving positions (DOT & FMCSA), employers must run an MVR check on every state they held a CDL. 

What's considered a good and bad MVR? 

Drivers who do not have moving violations are generally thought to have a good MVR check. Companies will also want to know about accidents and criminal activity. If someone has a clean record in those areas, they are thought to have a good MVR. However, this is subjective to your organization's adjudication policy. 

A "bad" MVR can be subjective. But in general, moving violations, accidents, criminal charges, and driver's license points all mean a person does not have a good MVR.

Why should companies do MVR checks more than once?

Performing a one-time MVR check is a snapshot in time of the individual's driving history. If something happens after the initial MVR report, you might not find out for quite some time. Continuous monitoring and rechecks (more on that below) can help. 

Companies regulated by the United States Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration need to review the MVR records for drivers every 12 months. Employers must keep all files on drivers for three years. That process is part of a much more comprehensive background check that all companies must perform if regulated by the DOT and hire commercial drivers. 

To learn more about DOT and FMCSA background checks, read our blog here

In general, regulated and non-regulated would benefit from running MVR checks annually at a minimum. 

What's continuous MVR monitoring?

Since MVR checks are not always conducted on a routine basis, it makes sense to have monitoring in place so you can catch driving issues before it becomes a significant liability for your company.

You can monitor employees with Orange Tree technology that allows you to be notified if an issue appears in your employee's MVR. You'll always have current information to make decisions. Suppose an employee has a criminal charge, loses their license, or commits a behavioral issue. In that case, monitoring can detect and let you know immediately. 

Continuous monitoring serves as another way to protect your workplace against potential liability from reckless behavior. You have no way of knowing what an employee will do after you hire them. Continuous monitoring solves that problem. 

Protect your brand

With a Motor Vehicle Check, you can find out if your potential employees have any past convictions or violations. MRV checks are an essential part of screening before hiring drivers for your company. It's also a good idea to consistently monitor their driving habits once they start working with you.

Orange Tree can help by providing fast, affordable MRV checks and MVR monitoring services that will give you peace of mind. For more information about our MVR services or our other background screening services, schedule a call with us today.