There are many reasons for employers and insurers to obtain the driving history of operators — called a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) by some or Driver’s Abstract by others — the history report summarizes recent violation activity, and confirms the current status of the license — valid, suspended or revoked (just because a license is revoked doesn’t mean that an operator won’t posses the physical license — while they should surrender the document, they might hold on to it for varied reasons).
An employer that permits operators to drive on company business without proper qualification of that operator’s skills and privilege status exposes themselves to various theories of legal liability in the event of a collision. Negligent Entrustment, Negligent Supervision, Negligent Hiring, Vicarious Liability, and Respondeat Superior are just a few of the terms that could be tossed around following a crash depending on the specific circumstances.
Many of these issues were covered in an article titled “Road Safety and the Law — When Is a License Check Not Enough?” Originally published by CPCU Society, the article gives a succinct review of legal theories and concerns for employers of drivers. If you’d like to review the article, (click here).
Another great resource for “why to pull MVRs” can be found at the Insurance Services Office — (Click Here)
In addtion to those references, we wanted to call your attention to a recent study that was published by the California DMV. The study provides a renewed perspective on the critical nature of simply validating that an operator has been licensed to drive (is NOT Un-Licensed) and that their credentials are not Suspended or Revoked (S/R).
The study, entitled Fatal Crash Rates for Suspended/Revoked and Unlicensed Drivers, found that compared to licensed drivers, suspended/revoked and unlicensed drivers are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash. Additionally, unlicensed drivers tend to be more hazardous than suspended/revoked drivers. Examining crash data over a 23-year period, the study found that the at-fault crash risk of suspended/revolved and unlicensed drivers has not decreased over time.
Among the Report’s Key Findings:
- Compared to validly licensed drivers, suspended/revoked (S/R) and unlicensed drivers are 2.60 and 2.73 times more likely to cause a fatal crash relative to their exposure.
- The study results provide strong evidence that S/R and unlicensed drivers are much more hazardous on the road than are validly licensed drivers. Compared to licensed drivers, those who drive without a valid license are nearly three times more likely to cause a fatal crash relative to their exposure.
- Unlicensed drivers tend to be more hazardous than S/R drivers.
- The at-fault overinvolvement rate for unlicensed drivers did not change systematically following enactment on January 1, 1994 of California Vehicle Code Section 12801.5, which prevents issuance of a driver license to individuals who cannot provide the required documentation to show that their presence in California is authorized under federal law.
- The annual fatal crash involvement ratios range from 0.81 to 0.91 for validly licensed drivers, 1.44 to 4.29 for S/R drivers, and 1.60 to 3.50 for unlicensed drivers, respectively, over the 23-year time period studied. The fact that the rates for S/R and unlicensed drivers exceeded 1.0 in every year indicates that these drivers were consistently more likely to be at-fault than to be innocent in their crashes.
The risks of crash involvement and subsequent litigation posed to an employer of operators who are either unlicensed or Suspended/Revoked are huge. Requiring employees (and any other permitted drivers such as spouse, child, independent contractor using your vehicle) to supply a license and give consent to allow their MVR to be obtained/reviewed is a great step in reducing the potential for crashes.
Once the MVRs are obtained showing the license status (i.e. valid, suspended, revoked, etc.) you may want to closely review the number, frequency and types of violations reported to see that some drivers have a greater tendency to receive violations than other drivers. The relative risk of two drivers — both driving similar equipment on a similar number of miles — where one gets multiple violations over the course of time and the other receives none is less likely to do with luck than behavior/habits. After all, driving faster than the speed limit is the number one cause of getting a speeding ticket!
Many employers have devised a risk scoring system to evaluate the number of and “severity” of various violations. Many hold drunk driving out as an example of egregious behavior while some permit multiple speeding tickets to accrue before refresher training is required. What works at one employer may not be a fit for your firm depending on the specifics of your operation (i.e. cross-country trucking versus pest control services — each operates in different settings and may have different concerns).
Dump Paper Reporting — Consider A Managed Data System Instead
Traditionally, employers obtained paper reports on each driver — often with varied state codes, state violation descriptions and state-based “point systems”.
This diversity of reporting made the analysis of driver records tedious and subject to errors by employers.
To compare one driver’s history from Oregon to another based in Texas required translating the paper report into a consistent format for codes, descriptions and points.
Very recently, managed solutions are being deployed to automate the process for employers. These systems can:
- Specialized reporting, including blended scoring using telematics data, how’s my driving data, preventable crashes, et.al.
- prioritize the frequency of MVR orders based on driver risk score (more frequent MVRs for drivers with more activity)
- Pre-Order “data scrubbing” to minimize “couldn’t complete request” charges from states (i.e. catch format issues, missing DOB, illegal punctuation marks, etc.)
- driver renewables reporting (i.e. license renewal alerts, DOT qualifications such as medicals, refresher training certification alerts, etc.)
- integration of state-driven, proactive reporting of alerts (i.e. California EPN, New York LENS, et.al.)
- increase consistency in formatting, points, descriptions, et.al. (Up-to-date AAMVA ACD Coding for all 50 states, Canadian translation to ACD, etc.)
- deliver faster results (*instant turnaround and scoring in many cases)
- improve compliance with applicable state and federal regulations,
- streamline mandatory (State driven) file audits
- manage by exception and radically cut the administration burdens of your staff
- set roles and responsibilities for management users — by territory, by job function
- email alerts for exceptions
- Integration with your HR platform for hires/fires updating automatically (available for larger employers)
- Automate your orders, order one-by-one, or use our flexible batch/group ordering process to run hundreds at a time!
Unlike earlier “do it yourself” systems that only charge a transaction fee to connect to the state and obtain a paper report, the new systems which provide managed services support typically charge a database or services fee on a per driver basis in addition to the transaction fee. Still, the ability to consolidate all the reporting and get consistently formated data sets make the investment highly worthwhile.
The risk of letting even one driver “fall through the cracks” of a paper based system put the public at risk of a preventable collision. Obtaining an MVR used to be a tedious task, but a necessary one. Now, with managed services, the system can be tailored to your own point system and incorporate additional data sources like telematics alerts, EOBR data, and more. The real question isn’t should we, but can we afford not to subscribe to a managed service?
“E-DriverFile” and “My Driver’s Data” are two managed service programs provided by SafetyFirst Systems.
E-DriverFile provides expanded solutions for crash reporting, training tracking, DOT compliance support and other features.
The “My Driver’s Data” system is a bare bones approach to managed services for employers who “only want to do MVRs” and nothing else. It provides a robust platform for delivering results without the added costs of the “full” E-DriverFile program.
If you’re struggling to manage your MVR program, want to explore what’s possible now with the new systems, or have a need to start building an MVR program from scratch, give us a call (@ 1-888-603-6987). While most of our direct subscriber clients have more than 1000 MVR pulls per year, we are also working to make our systems available through participating insurance providers as part of their “value added” services (you have to pay for the MVRs directly per FCRA/DPPA regulations, but the service platform expense may be covered by participating insurers).