Annual MVRs Increase Risk: Use Ongoing Monitoring Instead

Mark Schedler, Sr. Editor - Transport

December 18, 2023

 Two semis

A motor carrier that dutifully requests motor vehicle records (MVR) on its drivers once per year increases the potential risk, even though they would be compliant.

Commercial driver's license (CDL) and non-CDL drivers are supposed to notify employers of loss of driving privileges by close of business the day after they are notified of the suspension. However, only CDL drivers are required by regulation to notify carriers of traffic violation convictions and they have 30 days after conviction to do so. If that driver notification doesn't happen, unsafe driving violations and licensing disqualification can occur between annual MVRs without the carrier's knowledge.


Risks of annual MVRs

MVRs pulled only once every 12 months increase the chance of:

  • A claim of negligent retention, entrustment, or supervision if an unqualified driver has a crash;
  • Out-of-service violations, stranded equipment, and service failures;
  • License suspensions due to drivers reaching a maximum point accumulation for repeat violations in a specified period;
  • License suspensions due to administrative reasons, such as failure to pay child support;
  • Undetected expiration of CDL drivers' medical certification;
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) audits if the Driver Fitness Behavioral Assessment Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) exceeds the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) percentile threshold;
  • FMCSA audit fines and acute violations that require immediate action; and
  • Increased insurance rates.


Ongoing MVR monitoring benefits

A carrier is judged by what they should have known and actions they should have taken to resolve an unsafe or non-compliant situation.

  1. Timely notification - Ongoing MVR monitoring, either set up by the carrier or monitored via a third party, reduces dependency on drivers and provides notice of violations or license status changes as soon as they are available from the states.
  2. Save time and meet the annual MVR review requirement (391.25) - A thorough annual review can take 30 to 60 minutes per MVR, along with possible state delays in providing reports. Ongoing monitoring requires only reviewing changes to the driving record or license status, saving time and decreasing the chance of missing something.
  3. Improve driver retention - Identify and deliver prompt remedial actions due to events affecting driver safety or licensing.


In closing

Gaps in safety management controls can result in unsafe or unqualified drivers on the road, triggering an audit or adding zeros to any lawsuit settlement.

Ongoing MVR monitoring can protect your business and help retain drivers. Start the new year by adopting this highly effective best practice!

J. J. Keller's MVR Monitoring Service helps spot risky drivers quickly with year-round visibility into your employees' driving records.