Magdalena Jackiewicz
Editorial Expert
Magdalena Jackiewicz
Reviewed by a tech expert

Why understanding the Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check is critical for mobility startups in USA

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MVR, or Motor Vehicle Record describes an individual’s driving history. An MVR check is mandatory in any industry that involves working with motor vehicle drivers. It’s not just an administrative requirement – it also plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and reliability of individuals who operate motor vehicles. 

If you’re a provider of mobility services inside the U.S., you have to understand the MVR check process. In this blog post, we will delve into the details, including the individuals who must undergo such screening, and an outline of the procedure in the United States.

What is an MVR background check?

Motor Vehicle Record check is a process that involves accessing an individual's driving record, which provides a comprehensive overview of their history as a licensed driver. This record includes information about traffic violations, accidents, license suspensions, revocations, and other relevant details.

If you’re working with professional drivers, (or individuals involved in driving company vehicles), MVR allows you to make informed decisions regarding employment, insurance premiums, and regulatory compliance. Let’s take an in-depth look into the advantages of MVR check.

Why perform an MVR check?

MVR screening offers several advantages for organizations that rely on individuals operating motor vehicles. Consider why you must include it in your operations:

To comply with legal regulations

Certain industries and positions are subject to legal and regulatory requirements related to driving records. For example, companies that employ commercial drivers must adhere to regulations set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) or other governing bodies. These laws also extend to providers of mobility services. Conducting MVR check ensures compliance with these requirements, minimizing legal and regulatory risks.

To enhance safety and accountability on the road

MVR background checks are primarily focused on evaluating an individual's driving history, offering insights into an individual's level of risk with regards to their suitability for positions that involve driving responsibilities. Screening helps identify individuals with a history of unsafe driving practices, reducing the likelihood of accidents, injuries or damage to property (which brings us to the next point).

To protect company assets 

If your organization owns vehicles, or relies on employees driving on their behalf, protecting these assets is in your vested interest. MVR checks help to identify those individuals who may pose a higher risk of damage, misuse or loss of company vehicles. Screening potential and existing drivers will thus allow you to reduce the potential for asset loss or damage.

To make informed hiring decisions

By assessing a candidate's driving history, organizations can learn about any patterns of unsafe behavior or excessive violations. This helps employers select candidates with clean driving records, reducing the potential for on-the-job accidents, liability issues, and reputational damage.

To assess insurance premiums

Insurance providers use MVR check to evaluate risk profiles and determine insurance premiums. Individuals with a history of traffic violations or accidents may be considered higher-risk drivers and may have to pay higher insurance premiums. 

To promote responsible driving

Implementing MVR checks sends a clear message about the importance of responsible driving. The knowledge that driving records will be evaluated encourages employees and drivers to prioritize safe driving practices. This, in turn, fosters a culture of responsibility and safety within the organization and contributes to overall road safety.

Who must undergo MVR checks?

MVR background check is typically required for individuals who operate motor vehicles as part of their job responsibilities. This includes but is not limited to the following roles:

Commercial drivers 

Employees who drive commercial vehicles, such as taxi and truck drivers, delivery personnel, and public transportation operators, are subject to MVR check due to the potential risks associated with their profession.


Companies that employ individuals to operate company-owned vehicles or drive on behalf of the business often conduct MVR checks to ensure they are hiring safe and responsible drivers. This includes any company that deals with fleet management and logistics management as part of its daily business operations.

Insurance providers

Insurance companies assess an individual's driving record to determine insurance premiums and coverage eligibility, as it directly affects the individual's risk profile.

Regulatory agencies

Government entities responsible for overseeing transportation and public safety, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), may perform MVR screenings for various purposes, including licensing and regulatory compliance.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) providers

Currently, there is no specific federal regulation in the United States that mandates MaaS providers to perform MVR check on their drivers. However, background checks are typically performed by car-sharing, ride-sharing or ride-hailing platforms such as Uber, Bolt or Lyft as part of their driver onboarding process. These companies often have their own internal policies and procedures for screening drivers' MVRs to ensure they meet certain safety standards. Car rental companies also implement relevant systems for such background checks.

MVR screening process in the United States

Although MVR check is a nationwide practice, the specific regulations and processes can vary between states. Below, we outline the general process of an MVR background check in the United States, which is quite simple.

Step 1: Obtaining consent

Before conducting an MVR check, you must obtain the individual's consent, which is usually done through a signed release form. This has to ensure compliance with U.S. privacy laws and regulations.

Step 2: Accessing MVR reports

Once you have the individual’s consent, you can request MVR reports from the relevant state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or through authorized third-party providers.

Step 3: Reviewing MVR reports

You should review the MVR reports, examining factors such as traffic violations, license status, accidents, and any previous convictions. Note that each state may have specific guidelines for what is considered acceptable or unacceptable.

Step 4: Decision-making 

Based on the information found in the MVR report, you can make informed decisions as to the potential cooperation with the individual in question.

The MVR screening process isn’t complicated in itself. What may pose challenges are the differences between legal regulations between the different American states. I’m explaining what to pay attention to in the following section.

Regulatory variations between states

It's important to acknowledge that MVR regulations can vary significantly between states in terms of permissible information, reporting periods, and access to records. For example:

  • Reporting periods: some states limit the reporting period to the past three years, while others may include a more extensive timeframe, such as five or ten years.
  • Offense classification: different states classify offenses differently, which can affect how they impact an individual's driving record. For instance, misdemeanors can be classified between classes A, B and C, and the criteria may vary between states. 
  • Points system: certain states employ a points system to track and penalize traffic violations. These points can affect an individual's driving status on MVR reports.

Automating MVR check in your mobility app with RST

MVR screening is a vital process for ensuring the safety and reliability of individuals who operate motor vehicles, as well as regulatory compliance of your business. Understanding the intricacies of MVR checks, including who must undergo the process and the variations in regulations between states is critical for ensuring legal compliance and maintaining safety standards effectively.

If you’re looking for a partner who can help you implement an automated MVR screening system into your digital platform or mobility application, you’ve come to the right place. RST has implemented background checks mechanisms for various clients in the mobility and logistics industry. Contact me directly if you’d like to find out more about our competencies at and I’ll link you with the best expert who can navigate you through the process.

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