One of the best ways to improve the overall safety of your fleet is to have a complete understanding of your drivers’ individual on-road behavior.
Most employers require a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) check on all applicants and current employees before they can get behind the wheel of a company vehicle or drive for company business, but your driver monitoring program shouldn’t end there.
From commercial drivers to employees in the field, MVRs should be a standard part of your employee background screening, but should also be extended periodically to existing employees to ensure they have maintained a safe everyday driving record.
By monitoring your employees’ driving records on a regular basis, you can reduce your company’s exposure to risk, litigation and increased insurance premiums. How can you use MVRs to ensure your drivers are practicing safe driving habits around the clock?
What’s an MVR?
An MVR is a driving record that is kept by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in each state. Every driver with a driver’s license has a driving record. It’s a public account of every aspect of a driver’s driving history, including their name and address, driver’s license number, state of issuance, license classification, status and expiration date.
It also includes all of a driver’s violations and convictions including traffic and speeding tickets, penalties, points, fines, DUI (or DWI) public records, license suspensions and revocations. MVRs also list any crashes involving your driver.
MVRs can be ordered from your state’s DMV, Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, Department of Public Safety or Motor Vehicle Division for a small fee. Most states keep driving records for at least three years, while others keep records for as long as 10 years. Here are four best practices to monitor your drivers’ MVRs:
#1: Check driver MVRs monthly.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires employers to pull an MVR once a year for all commercial drivers. But to get the whole picture, you should review your drivers’ behavior monthly. Anything less frequent and you could be missing something that could expose the company to liability.
Checking MVRs once a year and relying on background checks and license status reviews isn’t enough. Though these reports provide some information — like whether or not a driver’s license has been revoked — they don’t provide information about driving behavior or details about specific violations.
Many services are available that enable employers to check MVRs monthly without having to purchase the full MVR. An alert is sent if there is any change to an employee’s driving record, prompting you to then purchase the full report for the details.
#2: Understand the DMV point system.
A driver’s MVR will show all of a driver’s traffic violations such as traffic tickets, speeding tickets and other fines. Most states use a point system in which points correlate to specific traffic violations to track dangerous or careless drivers. As points accumulate, insurance premiums can increase and licenses can even be suspended or revoked.
While most states use a point system, some states bypass the points and take direct action against a driver’s license depending on the severity of a violation. States have different points systems, so it’s important to understand the point system in your state so that you will understand any violations your drivers have committed — both on and off the clock — and the severity of those violations.
#3: Telematics and GPS alone are not enough.
Telematics and GPS data from commercial vehicles allows fleet managers to monitor individual driving habits and overall driver safety to see a more complete picture of their drivers’ behavior. Collected data can alert managers to unsafe driving habits and help identify drivers who may need additional training. For example, data can identify drivers who regularly drive 10 mph over the speed limit or who excessively use their brakes.
The information generated and recorded can also be used to lower fuel costs, design more efficient routes for drivers, and capture a vehicle’s last 30 seconds of dynamics in the case of a crash. However, this data doesn’t show a driver’s on-road behavior when he is not in a company vehicle.
Most crashes happen overnight when many employees are off the clock. Telematics and GPS data won’t tell you if a driver was arrested for DUI the night before or if they were involved in a crash last week in their personal vehicle.
#4: Don’t let risky behavior go uncorrected.
Once fleet managers have all of the information and a complete picture of a driver’s behavior behind the wheel, they can take action to improve any deficiencies or risky driving behavior with additional training and coaching. By identifying and correcting deficiencies, you can improve the safety of your fleet and everyone else on the road.
To learn more about how MVRs — combined with telematics, background checks and behind-the-wheel driver training — can help paint a full picture of your fleet’s driving habits, contact the Smith System team of experts today.