More Frequent MVRs Reduce the Risk of Not Knowing

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.

 

Consequences of hidden traffic convictions 

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). 

 

This event:

  • Leaves the carrier scrambling to find another driver to continue the trip;
  • Has the potential to result in a late delivery, upsetting the customer; and 
  • Affects the carrier's CSA Driver Fitness BASIC score, which may:
    • Trigger a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) intervention; and 
    • Impact the carrier's insurance rates

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. 

 

How to protect your carrier's interests 

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:

  • A push system that sends out an alert whenever the driver's record changes; or 
  • A pull system that is self-serve, allowing users to log in as often as they want to check the driver's record.

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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