Deciphering MVR Profiling

Whether you call them Motor Vehicle Reports, Driver Abstracts or Driver History Reports (we prefer MVRs for short), most fleets obtain them on each of their active drivers and review them against an established standard of performance. 

This is usually done for candidates as a screening/qualification process, and it’s typically done annually as a re-qualification process.  Employer benefits could include:  validating that a license is current, not-suspended or revoked; getting a glimpse of the violation history of the operator as a surrogate measure of their propensity towards taking risks while behind the wheel, and identifying any topics for refresher training during their orientation classes.

We’ve written several articles on MVRs in the past (found at our client-login website)**, but this one is new for several reasons:

  • Eighteen months ago, SafetyFirst became a “certified service bureau” and has been directly providing MVRs to its largest clients (i.e. insurers, leasing companies and large private fleets) as an extension of our E-DriverFile program ( – a first in our industry!
  • MVR data, while a lagging indicator of performance has recently been validated by ATRI Studies as a measure of increased crash likelihood (
  • Fleets have been getting more complex in how they evaluate their MVR data than ever before – setting values tied to individual ACD codes, weighing violations based on the number of months since they were incurred by the driver, blending scores with MOR data and preventable collision statistics,
  • Fleets are looking to enhance the mechanisms that they use to order and process MVR data without increasing their costs.
  • Automated ordering based on key anniversary dates, or other mechanisms are one of several ways to process MVRs in our system (bulk ordering is also available)
  • Fleets whose drivers are not regulated (CDL drivers, etc.) also need a better process to handle consent forms in those states where consent is required prior to ordering an MVR — our system provides “E-Consent” capabilities to streamline this administrative burden.

Recently, a poll on our discussion board at grabbed the attention of our client networking members.  It dealt with the manner in which MVRs are processed, but it led to requests for clients to offer benchmarking data on how they profile MVRs: 

  • periodicity of the reviews,
  • criteria for setting escalation levels,
  • timelines for “aging-out” older violation history
  • suggestions for weighting of “serious” violations such as DUI/DWI/Reckless Driving,
  • mechanisms to use to validate the profile that is currently in use
  • dealing with union objections or concerns to MVR profiling
  • score rounding or “smoothing” to help equate one state’s point system against another state’s point system (versus throwing out state points in favor of the fleet’s own scoring system)

Last Summer, we sponsored an informal conference call on these issues and it was very well attended with lots of questions and subsequent discussion.

How about you and your fleet?  Are you profiling your MVR data against a standard?  Who developed that standard and how do you validate it for your own peace of mind?  Would you join our discussion at the linked in group? 

If you’re interested in our E-DriverFile platform (used to streamline management record keeping of driver and vehicle data), our MVR solutions or how we offer “blended” risk scoring of Multiple Data Points (such as MOR, MVR, Preventable Collisions, please let me know:  paulf @ SafetyFirst (dot) com

**Some of the prior articles touching on MVRs, written by our senior staff, include:

  • “Identifying Drivers Who May Be ‘At-Risk’ of Becoming Involved in a Collision: MVR Analysis” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “Road Safety and the Law — When Is a License Check Not Enough?” – CPCU Society, Loss Control Quarterly 
  • “Auditing Against ANSI Z15,1 for a Fleet Safety Tune-Up” – ASSE, Transactions
  • “Driving Miss Daisy: Fleet Safety and Older Drivers” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “The Bookend BASICs of CSA” – North American Transportation Management Institute (NATMI)
  • “When is a License Check Not Enough?” – Presentation by SafetyFirst at NIOSH Global Road Safety Conference, Washington, D.C., February 2009
  • “Protecting Your Interests Following a Crash: Record Retention and Spoliation of Evidence” – CPCU Society, Underwriting Trends
  • “Negligent Entrustment”- CPCU Society, Loss Control Quarterly 


How Much Longer Until We Get There?

Based on news reports, we hear about self-driving cars becoming a reality, lane departure warning systems, airbags built into the seatbelt and other “whiz-bang” devices designed to help us survive and avoid crashes.  These features are significant, but are they in your car or truck today?  If not, when can you expect to see them become incorporated into your next new vehicle?

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently released a report about the typical time it takes for new safety innovations to become widely available.  Their conclusion after studying tons of data is that it usually takes about three decades for a new safety feature to move from initial introduction to being found as either a standard item OR an available option in 95% of the vehicles on the roadway.

Their article goes on to offer an example; “…it won’t be until 2016 that 95 percent of all registered vehicles could have frontal airbags, the authors predict, even though manufacturers began adding frontal airbags in meaningful numbers during the mid-1980s.”  The real impact of this lag time becomes evident in even more recently introduced appliances; “Forward collision warning, which was rolled out in theUnited Statesin 2000, could take even longer. If it continues to follow its current trajectory, the crash avoidance technology won’t be available in 95 percent of registered vehicles until 2049, HLDI predicts.”

There are two main factors in this lag time: 

  1. new features that prove helpful are not instantly available in all new models and
  2. not everyone replaces their vehicles frequently enough to keep pace with new features as they’re introduced into more makes and models.

It is amazing to investigate the progress made on crash avoidance systems that are presently available in high end luxury cars and as after-market installs for commercial vehicles, but it’s also sobering to realize how few people are presently benefiting from these systems. 

What’s the net impact of this lag time?

“The Institute has estimated that if all vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, side view assist, and adaptive headlights, 1.9 million crashes — including 1 in 3 fatal crashes — could potentially be prevented or mitigated if the systems worked perfectly.”

Another factor surfaced from the study – some innovations are more quickly adapted and incorporated than others: “Head-protecting side airbags, for example, shot up quickly in the beginning. It took 10 years for them to be available in 25 percent of the registered fleet, and it’s expected to take 15 years to reach 50 percent. In contrast,ESCreached the one-quarter mark after 16 years and is expected to be in half the fleet after 20 years.”

Finally, they also noted that the presence of some legacy technologies can accelerate new innovation acceptance; “Interestingly, antilock brakes have spread quickly even though they were never required. Despite promising results on the test track, realworld crash data haven’t shown large benefits from the technology. [However,] They got another boost fromESC[Electronic Stability Control] because an antilock braking system is a prerequisite for stability control. Now that the government requiresESCon new vehicles, antilocks have essentially become mandatory, too.”

So pay attention when you see the television ad or the professional journal article about new innovations, but realize that it may be a while until those systems hit the road in earnest.  In the meantime, don’t sacrifice the “basics” of driver training, performance monitoring, and solid vehicle inspection programs tied to preventative maintenance.