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Driving Record Searches: Not Necessarily Just for Drivers Anymore

Today, more than ever, employers are checking driving records as a part of their overall background screening process.  While a majority of employers conducting this search are filling positions that actually involve driving – trucking, delivery, and ride-sharing, to name a few, more employers are also checking driving records in other situations.  For example, they may want to check with regard to those who may occasionally use their personal vehicles on company business, those who receive a car allowance, or even those who are not anticipated to drive for work at all.

First, from a risk management perspective, this search may serve as an added level of protection for employers against lawsuits brought about if the employee is involved in a negligent car accident while driving in some capacity for his or her employer or on company time.  An employer’s ability to demonstrate that this search was conducted at the outset may provide an extra layer of insulation if the employee is found at fault.  This search can also provide insight into potential drug or alcohol problems, if one or more DUIs appear on their record, depending on the jurisdiction involved.

A driving record, also known as an MVR or DMV, is a public record.  The length of time offenses stay on a driving record is dependent upon the Department of Motor Vehicles of the particular state involved, with each having its own rules and regulations.  Additionally, the number of years driving records may be returned also depends on the state law.   It could be three, five, or seven years; however, seven years is the limit for FCRA purposes.

Driving record reports may show identifying information, such as the name, address, and license number, as well as moving violations, such as speeding tickets, DUIs, and accident history, as well as license records, including points, license suspensions, and revocations.  Without conducting this search, a moving violation may only show up if it resulted in a criminal citation, which appears on a criminal background check in some states.  In other states, criminal convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs do not appear on criminal records and can only be revealed through a motor vehicle record or DMV check.

As with any search, an applicant must first provide authorization.  Employers should be aware that additional wording is required to cover health-related information, such as seizures or other serious medical conditions that may be included on driving records. Hire Image has steadfastly worked to address this issue and our compliance team has included this information on our background check authorizations, including those of several states that require additional specialized forms.

The impacts a driving record search can have on a hiring decision are largely based on the type of job being applied for and the type of violation which occurred.  Some questions an employer may want to consider include:

  • Is driving involved for this position?
  • If it is not involved, will there be occasions for this person to drive while on company time?
  • How serious is the violation?
  • How long ago was it?
  • Are there multiple violations?
  • Did the person pay the fine, if applicable?
  • What are our company policies?
  • Did he or she tell the truth during the application process?

Ultimately, as with any background check, a driving record search can reveal if a person is trustworthy and responsible in order to better protect company property, employees, and customers.  If the position includes regular driving or even the occasional use of a company vehicle, a driving record search should be an easy decision.  However, even if the position involves no driving at the outset, it may be in an employer’s best interest to conduct the search to help identify problems that could negatively affect an employee’s performance.

Hire Image understands the importance of driving record reports.  Contact us for additional information on how to incorporate them into your background screening package or to review your current background screening package.

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