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What is a Motor Vehicle Report & Why Should Your Company Care?
Mariah Barr
6 mins read

A motor vehicle report, or MVR check, is an effective way to look into your employees' driving histories and gauge how safe they'll be on the roads.

What is an MVR background check?

An MVR background check is a report of a person's driving history. It includes information, such as license expiration, status, license class, endorsements, restrictions, traffic violations, accidents, vehicular crimes, suspensions—even unpaid parking tickets and, in some states, unpaid child support.

The purpose of an MVR report is straightforward: It provides the employer with insight regarding whether the applicant or employee can be considered a safe driver.


Conducting a pre-employment MVR check makes sense if you have employees driving on behalf of your company. Just like other screenings, such as criminal background checks, an MVR check will help you make informed hiring decisions. (And for DOT-regulated businesses, MVR checks are required.)

However, MVR reports can be challenging to interpret. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) has created the AAMVA Code Dictionary (ACD), which is "a set of codes used nationwide to identify the type of driver conviction or the reason for a driver withdrawal."

There are hundreds of codes. This is why it's essential to work with a reputable background check vendor that not only facilitates the MVR background checks but also helps you interpret the results.

Is an MVR report a consumer report?

Yes. As such, employers must ensure they comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including disclosure and authorization requirements and adverse action procedures.

How far back does an MVR report go?

This varies by state. Most states fall within a three- to seven-year lookback period (three years is the most common). There's no national database for searching drivers' records—we obtain MVR reports through a state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or its equivalent agency (in Massachusetts, for example, it's called the Registry of Motor Vehicles or RMV).

What happens if someone has lived in multiple states?

Since the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, nationwide, each driver may only have one driver's license and one record. This ended the practice of drivers getting multiple driver’s licenses and hiding bad records they may have had in a different state.

Some states will carry over violations from a previous state's MVR and place them on the person's new driving record. Some won't. It's important to note that each state has its own rules and regulations regarding how records are updated and accessed, and whether or not records can be expunged.

Not to mention, mistakes can happen at the state level: inputting incorrect data, like the misspelling of a name, for example. Sadly, examples of egregious errors exist as well, such as the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles' failure "to act on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a drunken driving arrest involving [Volodymyr] Zhukovskyy."

Zhukovskyy was involved in a crash on June 21, 2019, that killed seven people. His OUI arrest in Connecticut happened on May 11, 2019.

According to news reports, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said in a statement that, "in this case, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a May 11 incident that should have triggered termination of this individual’s commercial driver’s license." 

A negligent lawsuit has since been filed against Zhukovskyy and his employer, Westfield Transport.

What is continuous MVR monitoring?

Continuous MVR monitoring is exactly as it sounds—on an ongoing basis, a person's driving record is monitored for new information. This new info could be anything from speeding tickets to accidents to a license suspension or revocation. The info could also signal a positive change, such as a driver updating their commercial driver's license (CDL) or medical certificate.

Prevent up to 34% of driver violations now

Why should companies consider MVR monitoring?

You likely have more people driving on behalf of your company than you realize. Whether they're driving a company vehicle or their own, if they're going out and conducting business for your business, this creates liability and puts your company at risk. MVR monitoring can help mitigate this risk.

If you don't monitor MVRs, think about what could happen. If someone is driving with a suspended license on behalf of your company and they get in an accident involving injuries or fatalities, well . . . you can fill in the blanks: lawsuits, brand damage, and skyrocketing insurance premiums.

MVR monitoring is an economical way to mitigate these risks. 

Fast facts about Foley's MVR screening and monitoring program:

  • Compliant with DOT, FCRA, Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), and related state laws.

  • Available as a one-time MVR check pre-hire, an annual re-screen, or continuous monitoring service on employees' driving records.

  • Can easily be bundled with our other employee screening solutions.

  •  Foley's experts are always available to answer questions and help interpret the reports so you can make the best hiring decisions.

Reduce risk by enrolling your drivers in Foley's MVR Monitor today. Fill out the form below to get a free demo of our MVR software.

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Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.