Motor vehicle records — MVRs

Studies show a link between accidents and past driving performance. Most drivers involved in vehicle accidents have had more than one accident or violation during the prior three years. Past driving record is a good indicator of how the person will drive in the future since drivers often continue their established habits. A recent study found that prior traffic violations were the second best predictor of future accidents, second only to prior accident history. Furthermore, studies have shown that almost half of job applicants understate the number of accidents and convictions in their initial application.

Motor vehicle records

A driver’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) is one of the best predictors of accident experience. MVRs should, therefore, be obtained for all drivers before they go behind the wheel. Obtain MVRs from each state since non‐CDL drivers may possess licenses from more than one. Then check MVRs at least once a year to determine if remedial action is needed.

Obtain written authorization from employees when requesting their MVR information. Consult with legal counsel in the event you decide to take disciplinary action against an employee as a result of any findings contained in the MVR, because there may be certain federal or state laws that apply.

Make MVRs part of driver files. Review them with your drivers. Doing so can provide insight into attitudes toward traffic rules and regulations.

Guidelines for screening MVRs

If driving is part of the job, MVRs that are clean or acceptable should be a condition of employment. Establish clear standards for what constitutes an acceptable MVR, and the penalties for not having one.

Consider the guidelines listed on page 3. These are the same guidelines used by The Hanover/Citizens Insurance Companies; however, exercise caution to assure all applicants and employees are evaluated under the same criteria. Again, you should consult with legal counsel in the event you decide to take disciplinary action against an employee as a result of any findings contained in his or her MVR.

Additional factors to consider

A driver’s age may be a contributing factor in vehicle accidents. For example, a youthful operator may possess a clean record; however, because the individual has been licensed a relatively short time, his or her driving experience may be limited.

On the other hand, long term “good” drivers may develop adverse trends over time. You should, therefore, conduct MVR checks on all drivers at least once annually. Again, you should make this periodic check a condition of employment and should obtain written authorization from your employees to do so.

How to obtain MVRs

State Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) are good sources for Motor Vehicle Records. Our Risk Solutions Partner SambaSafety can help support your screening efforts.

Some states offer a service that allows businesses to receive automatic notifications of changes to their drivers' MVRs. This is an excellent way to provide immediate intervention and counseling of drivers rather than waiting for an annual MVR review.

Sample MVR program guidelines

Major violations — One makes driver unacceptable:

  • Negligent homicide within last five years
  • Criminal‐type conviction within last five years
  • Hit‐and‐run within last five years
  • Manslaughter within last five years
  • Suspended or revoked license — currently suspended or revolved
  • Drag racing within last five years
  • Driving under influence/impaired within last five years

Moving violations

  • Reckless driving within last five years
  • Careless driving within last three years
  • Assault involving a motor vehicle within last five years
  • Passing a stopped school bus within last three years


  • Three or more moving violations within the last three years
  • Two or more at‐fault accidents within the last three years
  • Violations and accidents combined: More than one at‐fault accident and 1 moving violation within the last three years when not the same incident

Moving violations

  • Speeding violations
  • Improper or excessive lane changes
  • Following the vehicle ahead too closely
  • At‐fault accidents (any accident where the driver is cited with a violation, or negligently contributes to the incident OR; any single‐vehicle accident that is not caused by actual equipment failure)
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failure to yield


  • The driver has violations but does not meet the MAJOR or UNACCEPTABLE criteria


  • No violations listed on the MVR

Please note this list is not all inclusive, but a general guideline of the types of violations that fall into “Major Violations” and “Unacceptable”. The actual wording of a violation varies by state.

*Not‐at‐fault accidents, failure to wear seat belts, failure to register vehicle, failure to maintain vehicle, improperly marked or secured loads, oversize/overweight violations, non‐compliance with financial responsibility laws, and other non‐moving violations may also be considered unacceptable. Multiple incidents of these types of violations may indicate a general disrespect for safety controls and laws.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries ("The Hanover") specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with The Hanover. By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC JAN 2019 12‐82
171-1025 (02/14)