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When to Check Job Applicants' Driving Records

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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You should obtain the driving record information for any prospective employee if driving is part of the job description.

Part of the process of hiring an employee is checking the records and backgrounds of applicants who may be chosen to fill the position. If you have a job opening which requires any driving of a vehicle on company business, it is crucial that the driving records of job candidates be checked. While it may not matter that an applicant had a speeding ticket, a driving record check can reveal other more serious offenses. If an applicant's license is suspended or expired, how can that applicant legally perform a job that requires driving?

In addition, checking the driving record of an applicant can help you avoid a negligent hiring claim if an accident occurs.

Be aware as well that driving records should be checked even if driving is only incidental to the main responsibilities of a job function.

Example

Kevin owns and runs an Italian restaurant and wants to hire an employee to help with the cooking and preparation for catering jobs. Kevin's partner Judith is in charge of the catering deliveries but for bigger jobs the employee hired will have to drive one of the catering trucks to deliver and set-up the food. When hiring for this position, Kevin should check applicants' driving records although it's likely that the new employee will be driving for the restaurant only occasionally.

How do you obtain driving records? Driving record information is available from a state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Generally, they keep records of:

  • all traffic violations
  • driving-related offenses
  • identifying information contained on the license

In order to provide you with an applicant's driving record, you will need to provide the DMV with certain information. Usually, the DMV will ask for the prospective hire's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • license number
Tools to Use

The Business Tools include a sample driving record check letter to use, if you decide to check records by mail. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself; enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a copy of the applicant's release form.

Be aware that sometimes the DMV will charge you for checking these records. The cost can vary. Your DMV may require that you complete a certain form for the request. Before you send a request for a record, call your DMV or check online to find out what is required.

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