Kathy Close, Editor - Transport Safety
February 16, 2021
Even if a motor carrier faithfully requests the required annual motor vehicle record (MVR) on its driver, a driver's more recent history can go undetected up to 12 months.
Of course, commercial drivers are supposed to notify employers of loss of driving privelages and certain violations between MVRs. If a driver doesn't let the carrier know, is the carrier still held responsible? Unfortunately, yes. And the implications can go beyond compliance.
A driver who hides a serious traffic conviction or loss of driving privelage puts your carrier at risk. A suspended license discovered during a roadside inspection will place the driver out of service (OOS).
During an FMCSA audit, if it is learned that a disqualified driver was operating your CMV, even without your carrier's knowledge, it is still in violation and is used to determine your carrier's safety rating.
Aside from compliance, when a driver with a poor driving record (even if licensed at the time) is involved in a high-profile crash, the carrier could be accused of negligent entrustment, meaning the carrier should have known its driver was a danger on the road.
The annual MVR is the minimum driving history that a motor carrier is obligated to request. The carrier is permited to request full MVRs more often or use an alert system. Alert systems let you know whenever anything changes on a driving record (e.g., new med card, ticket, etc.).
Alert systems are one of two types:
Using a third-party service to monitor driving records to alert carriers to changes is also an option used by many carriers.
Bottom line: MVR monitoring is more than complying with the safety regulations. MVRs are a risk managment tool that will alert a motor carrier to high-risk drivers.
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