Motor Vehicle Report
A motor vehicle report is an official record of your driving history.
What is a motor vehicle report or MVR?
When someone runs a MVR background check on you, they request a copy of your motor vehicle report from your state’s DMV or registry of motor vehicles. This report contains your driving history, including information such as:
- Driver license number, expiration date, and status
- Driver’s license class
- Full name, date of birth, and social security number
- Contact information, like your mailing address or phone number
- Restrictions and suspensions
- Traffic violations, car accidents, and vehicular crimes
In some states the MVR could include unpaid parking tickets or whether or not you’re paying child support.
Why does your driving record matter?
Insurance companies and potential employers will pull a copy of your driving record when you apply for a new policy or certain types of jobs. It’s important to know what’s on your driver record as it can have a major impact on everything from insurance rates to job prospects.
Employers could use your motor vehicle record to verify that the mailing address you supplied on an application matches the DMV records.
Car insurance companies base the rates they charge on whether or not you’re a safe driver, which they can gauge in part from your driving record. If they see multiple speeding tickets, accidents, and other traffic violations they may not issue a policy, or you’ll pay higher rates.
Can just anyone pull your motor vehicle record?
No, that OKCupid match can’t order up your MVR to see if you’ve got any moving violations before your first date. The Driver Privacy Protection Act or DPPA restricts who can pull a certified copy of your driving record. Under the DPPA, the only reasons someone can pull your driving record without your permission are:
- Notices for a towed or impounded car
- A legitimate government agency reason
- A licensed investigator or security service needs it
- A matter of auto safety, theft, product recalls, or emissions
- Insurance reasons
- Private toll transportations facilities
- Non-profit motor vehicle market research and surveys
Otherwise, you have to sign a request form that identifies who is receiving the information and why they need it. Information about a record request must be kept for five years.
Should you check your own motor vehicle report?
It’s not a bad idea for you to order a copy and check your record information periodically. If your insurance rates jumped suddenly and you can’t figure out why, law enforcement could have submitted inaccurate information or written down a driver license or license plates wrong. If you’ve got a common name (hey there, Matt Smith) it’s possible your records could be incorrect.
In most states you can go online and get a digital copy. If you want to take things offline you can contact driver services and fill out a request form. Most DMVs won’t accept a credit card, so you may have to pay for your motor vehicle record with a money order. While you can have the copy of your MVR sent to a PO Box, it needs a valid mailing address attached to it.
Once you get a copy of your driving record, review it for anything that looks odd. If you find something that looks fishy, contact driver services and work with them to get it sorted out.