Background Checks and Driving Records

80% of all businesses conduct background checks as part of their pre-employment screening process, and for good reason. Background checks provide insight into the history of potential employees, helps mangers select the best and most qualified candidate for the job as well as mitigate risk. Knowing the qualifications, relevant strengths, and weaknesses about the people that you are considering hiring is really just a best business practice.

 While employers and HR professionals might typically think of a background check consisting of a criminal record check, employment, or education verification, driving records are an important and sometimes overlooked source for job specific and relevant information.

If future employees are likely to be driving company vehicles, driving their own vehicle on company time, or may have to drive vehicles or equipment as part of their employment responsibilities it’s prudent to conduct driving record checks to make sure that everything is good to go.

What Do Background Checks Look Into?

Background checks conducted during the pre-employment process (usually) focus on criminal history more than anything else. Felony and Misdemeanor court records are likely going to be searched for information about an individual’s criminal history. 

The kinds of details available as part of a criminal background check include, but are not limited to:

  • Personally, identifying information (name, date of birth, gender, etc.)
  • Arrest records for misdemeanor and felony offenses
  • Pending court case information
  • Conviction information for misdemeanor and felony offenses
  • Incarceration details

Every state in the US also maintains their own independent sex offender registry. This kind of information is almost always available for access online, free of charge, and without having to jump through a lot of hoops.

What Information Will Driving Records Include?

Driving records, on the other hand, can be a little bit harder to access unless you are requesting driving records for yourself personally. The DPPA (Driver Privacy Protection Act) is a Federal Law which requires there to be a “Permissible Purpose” that meets certain guidelines before a consumer driving record can be accessed. Employment Screening is one of the authorized reasons under the statute. Pre-Employment background checks that include requests for driving records will need to be approved in writing by the potential employee themselves,

Motor vehicle background information can include, but is not limited to:

  • Any potential traffic violations
  • Any license suspensions or revocations
  • The type of license that an applicant has been approved for
  • Any restrictions on their driving permissions
  • Personal identifiers – Name, DOB, Address

… As well as details regarding their driver’s license expiration date, specific endorsements they may have, a breakdown of accidents they have been a part of, as well as the status of their license.

Important Things to Remember When Pulling Driver Records

It is critically important that you obtain written authorization to run a driving record check from a potential applicant during the pre-employment process. This can be included in The Background Authorization form which is also required by the FCRA.  As highlighted above, some applicants are going to need to provide written permission for their records to be pulled from the DMV. Others may even have to get their driving record themselves and furnish it to you as part of the pre-employment interview process. Other states, however, allow you to run limited driving record checks on job applicants if the job opening requires a clean driving history, an active license, or will involve them driving company vehicles.

Driving records can be extremely useful in evaluating an applicant’s competency to drive on behalf of your company. They also can demonstrate the reliability and decision-making skills of an applicant, provide verification of identity, and indicate if the applicant has had a history of issues with alcohol or drug abuse. As it’s been said a great predictor of future performance is past behavior.