Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Policy
Organizations with vehicle operations face the exposure of significant loss from vehicle crashes. A good way to lower this risk is to allow only safe drivers to operate vehicles for your organization. An essential ingredient of this process involves evaluating drivers’ Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs). Without this basic loss control step, you may jeopardize your members and your organization. The following chart presents the specific driving behaviors that are most predictive of future crash involvement.
Data source: The American Transportation Research Institute – Specific Driving Behaviors Most Predictive of Future Truck Crash Involvement
MVRs are important because not only will they provide you with peace of mind, but they also provide key insights into an employee’s driving history, accidents, convictions, moving violations, suspensions, etc. Typically, drivers that have multiple violations are more likely to be involved in future accidents. Simply allowing employees who have poor driving records operate your organization’s vehicles, you are increasing your liability exposure. MVRs should be examined prior to the start of employment, and annually thereafter.
It is important to create and implement a formal MVR policy to ensure your evaluation and driver screening process is administered consistently and that all drivers are familiar with its provisions. An MVR policy should contain the following factors:
- Who is subject to the policy?
- When an MVR must be obtained
- Evaluation of accident and violation information, classification of accident/violation (major, minor, or non-moving)
- Evaluation of driver’s history, according to your organization’s policy
- Consideration of whether job applicants, whom have borderline or poor MVRs, should be hired for driving positions or allowed to drive on organization business
- Consideration of whether current employees, whom have borderline or poor MVRs, should have their driving responsibilities suspended, or be reassigned to non-driving positions, until after their driving records become acceptable
- Adequate documentation, guidelines on record retention
Who is subject to the policy?
Your MVR Policy must outline who is covered under it. Any staff member who operates a vehicle for your organization should be covered. While an MVR policy focuses on employees who drive frequently for your organization, less obvious drivers you may need to consider include:
- Employees who regularly rent cars during business trips
- Employees frequently attending seminars and conferences
- Employees who run errands with company vehicles
- Part-time and temporary employees, as well as interns
- Volunteers, coaches, board members and elected officials
- Family members who are permitted to drive company vehicles
MVRs can usually be obtained from the state driver licensing office or a third-party vendor that provides consumer reports. When evaluating MVRs, you should look at a three- to five-year driving history.
When should an MVR be obtained?
Any prospective employee who will be covered under the MVR policy should provide accident and violation information on their employment application. It should be required that current employees who drive, or those moving into positions that involve driving, provide this information annually. Violation and accident information provided by the employee should be compared to the MVR. Any discrepancies must be thoroughly investigated. The reviews are meant to determine if remedial training or other action is necessary.
MVRs should also be obtained after an accident occurs or after a call-in report/complaint has been received. This will help determine if there has been a change in a driver’s behavior following the accident or call-in report.
Evaluation of accident and violation information
After obtaining violation and accident information, this information should be evaluated. Violations are categorized as either major violations, minor violations, or non-moving violations. Typically, non-moving violations are not included in the evaluation process. Accidents are often classified as preventable or non-preventable. Very few accidents are considered to be non-preventable, these accidents are where the driver did everything possible to avoid being involved. If the MVR includes accidents, it is important to discuss the details of the accident with the driver to help you determine preventability.
Examples of Major Violations
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Racing or excessive speed (greater than 20 mph over the speed limit)
- Reckless, negligent, or careless driving
- Felony, homicide, or manslaughter involving the use of a motor vehicle
- License suspension or revocation resulting from accidents or moving violations
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Erratic lane changing
- Attempting to elude a police officer
Examples or Minor Violations
- Speeding less than 20 mph over the speed limit
- Failure to obey sign
- Failure to yield
- Illegal turn
Examples of Non-Moving Violations
- Parking tickets
- Motor vehicle equipment violations
- Failure to have a valid operator’s license available where one actually exists
Evaluation of driver’s history
Following review of the driver’s violations and accidents, the driver’s history should be evaluated according to your organization’s policy. The chart below is an example of a tool used to evaluate MVRs.
When evaluating an MVR, severity and frequency should be the two biggest concerns. Recent history is the most important. A driver who had several moving violations over three years ago may be a better risk than a driver who had three violations within the last 12 months. Each employee should be held to the same MVR standards.
Application of MVR policy for borderline/poor job applicants and current staff
Applicants who have borderline or poor MVRs should not be hired for driving positions or be permitted to drive on organization business. Current employees should have their driving responsibilities suspended until their driving record becomes acceptable. Suspension of driving duties for some staff, who drive regularly, may result in reassignment to another position or termination.
Checking each driver’s MVR periodically can help to identify drivers who have borderline records and who may be in danger of losing their driving privileges if their driving behavior does not improve. Managers should meet with borderline drivers to discuss with them the consequences of receiving more violations or becoming involved in an accident.
To advance borderline drivers, you need to warn them of their status and coach them to improve. A good tool for this would be an MVR Point System. In the following table, the Violation/Accident Guidelines and Points columns on the left are used to assign points to every accident/violation over a three-year period. The points are then totaled to establish the Driver’s Total Points in the right column. In the next table, Corrective Action Guidelines are provided to assist for that risk category, based on the Driver’s Total Points.
Guidelines should be provided in the MVR policy retention of applicants, release forms, the actual MVR, annual certificates of violations, annual MVR reviews, and warnings and corrective action taken.