Motor Vehicle Record Checks
Preventing auto accidents and the resulting injuries can be a daunting task. Auto accidents can be a major cost for many organizations and it is not uncommon that the associated costs (liability) become a larger expense than workers’ compensation. Reducing auto accidents can be a very complex activity for many organizations especially those that may not have an extensive safety/risk management department. This series of articles will focus on some of the core elements of a successful fleet safety program.
As with any safety program, a viable fleet safety program has to start with the employee, in this case the driver. You must have the right person behind the wheel and there are some specific steps you can take to evaluate your drivers or potential drivers. One of the most basic fundamentals of an effective fleet safety program is regular and properly used Motor Vehicle Records (MVR) checks. I say properly used because some organizations will run a driver’s MVR and then not know what to do if/when they find issues on the record. Or even worse, no one reviews the records at all. In addition to regular checks, you should have a system in place to categorize drivers into risk levels based on the incidents identified on their MVR. At the very least, you need to have a set level at which you will not allow an employee to drive your vehicle. This policy needs to apply not only to drivers of company vehicles but also any dependents (spouse, children) who may be allowed to drive a company vehicle. It is also recommended to qualify any employee who may be driving their personal vehicle for company business.
When setting up a system for MVR checks, the following areas are some that need to be considered and addressed:
- Do you have a vendor to process the MVR’s? This may seem unnecessarily basic, but if you have a large number of employees in multiple states, it can be very time consuming requesting all the MVR’s manually. You need a vendor who can process all MVR’s in states in which you have drivers. This may be very simple if all your drivers are in one city, county, or state. However, if you have drivers across the country, I recommend using a single company to pull all the MVR’s for you nationwide. A company specializing in MVR’s will be able to guide you in the very different state and local requirements you will face to assure you do not violate any laws while processing MVR’s.
- When requesting MVR’s, what timeframe of the driver’s record will you review? You have to set a time period and adhere to it uniformly. The industry average is 3 years, meaning companies consider all incidents, accidents, tickets or other violations when reviewing MVR’s which occur during that three-year time period. Once a policy is established, you must adhere to it and cannot consider any incidents which occur outside of the specific timeframe. Some more serious convictions, such as driving under the influence (DUI), may be taken into consideration for a longer period of time, 5 years for example. These should be spelled out in detail as part of your policy.
- How will you assign points for driver infractions? You must have an established system of applying points to specific driver infractions. This system must be the same from state to state and region to region. This is another reason why using a national company can save you time and money, both in the set up and the implementation of a system.
- Who will review the MVR’s? Will one person review all the MVR’s or will they be reviewed by a group? It is always best to have someone other than the hiring manager reviewing the MVR’s. Whoever it is needs to be trained to assure they are reviewing the MVR’s consistently and uniformly with checks and balances in place.
We’ve just scratched the surface of a good fleet safety program and we will be going deeper into other aspects of the program in future articles. Next month, we’ll discuss more about driver assessment and qualifications.