Alabama Driving Record & MVR Checks

Hayley Harrison
May 23, 2024
6 min read

An Alabama employer can opt to perform a driving record check to determine whether a candidate has an active driver license and to fulfill records-keeping requirements imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). A motor vehicle report (MVR) can provide valuable information about a candidate’s driving record and safety history so that you can decide whether they’re eligible for your open position. Here's what you need to know about getting an Alabama MVR.

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What is an Alabama MVR?

An Alabama motor vehicle record, also called an MVR, is a record of an individual’s driving history within the state. It provides information about their driver license status and driving history, such as current license status and class, previous moving violations, vehicle accident records, and more.

Employers may order an Alabama MVR as a standalone screening or as a part of a comprehensive background check for various reasons. They may need to do so because they employ people for regulated positions, such as those that require a CDL. For example, the DOT requires employers to obtain a new MVR for CDL drivers who cross state lines once every 12 months and retain the record for up to three years.

Even for unregulated positions, an Alabama MVR may provide useful information for employers. The report can tell employers if a candidate has a valid driver license that will permit them to operate company vehicles, make deliveries, transport passengers, or travel to appointments. As a result, MVRs are helpful when hiring everyone from home health aides and company salespeople to couriers and rideshare drivers.

Types of Alabama motor vehicle records

The two main types of Alabama motor vehicle records are three-year driver’s records and full driver’s abstracts. The reports provide the same basic information but vary in terms of timeframe: A three-year driver’s record contains driving history for only the past three years, while a driver’s abstract includes a driver’s entire history of driving in Alabama . As the agency responsible for public safety in the state, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), the Alabama DMV, handles both types of  Alabama MVR requests.

Why should employers order Alabama MVR reports?

Employers should consider ordering Alabama MVR reports for several reasons, including determining eligibility, meeting commercial driving requirements, adhering to rules regarding regulated positions, and promoting employee and public safety.

Determining eligibility

If job duties involve driving, candidates must typically hold a valid driving license to be eligible for the position. By ordering an MVR report, Alabama employers can determine whether a candidate holds a valid, unrestricted driver license that will allow them to perform their required duties, if hired.

Commercial driving requirements

Drivers whose job duties involve driving over state lines must generally meet requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency of the DOT. 

FMCSA rules require employers to perform due diligence during pre-employment screening, such as drug testing and obtaining an MVR. After hiring a CDL driver, employers must typically order a new MVR every year to comply with FMCSA rules, as explained above.

Regulated positions

In Alabama, employers may need to review an MVR before hiring a candidate for a regulated position.

School bus drivers are one example. The Alabama Child Protection Act of 1999 mandates that anyone who supervises children, including school bus drivers, must undergo a criminal background check, but it imposes no additional background check requirements. However, Section 16-27-1 of the Alabama Code requires school boards to mandate and provide training and licensing for all school bus drivers. As a result, local school boards may require an MVR check for all candidates for open driving positions.

For ridesharing drivers, Alabama House Bill 190 requires employers to perform a criminal background check and MVR check. Candidates are disqualified from the role if the results show a history of more than three minor traffic violations or one major violation during the past three years. Under the law, serious traffic violations include fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, reckless driving, and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

If you’re unsure whether the job you need to fill is a regulated position in Alabama, consult your legal counsel.

Employee and public safety

Operating motor vehicles safely helps ensure workplace safety for employees and road safety for the public. By hiring safe drivers, organizations may help protect their workers and their communities. 

An MVR report is one way to assess whether a candidate is a safe driver. Organizations that ensure they hire safe drivers may reduce the risk of legal liability and qualify for lower commercial auto insurance rates.

How to get Alabama driving records

The process of how to get an Alabama driving record for a candidate depends on which type of record you require.

With written permission from the candidate, you can typically order a three-year Alabama driving record online through the ALEA. Subscriptions are available for organizations that perform many Alabama driving record searches per year. Candidates can also order a three-year Alabama driver record directly from the Alabama DMV (ALEA)  online or by visiting an ALEA Driver License Office in person.

A full Alabama driver’s abstract is only available to the candidate. To request one, they must visit an Alabama DMV (ALEA) Driver License Office in person and present a valid photo ID.

While you can obtain three-year driving records on your own, working with a background check company, like Checkr, may be advantageous. Checkr streamlines the process, allowing you to perform MVR checks more efficiently and quickly, freeing you to focus on other steps of the hiring process. Plus, turnaround times for MVRs are fast with Checkr. In many cases, results are available the same day. With compliance tools built into our products, you can also more efficiently comply with federal, state, and local hiring laws and adverse action reporting requirements.

What information shows up on an Alabama driving record?

An Alabama driving record includes a variety of information, including driver license status, driver license class, and driving history details. When ordering a motor vehicle report, Alabama employers can see if a candidate received citations for moving violations and if they have any points on their driving record.

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What is the Alabama driving record point system?

The Alabama driving record point system tracks drivers’ histories of moving violations and institutes mandatory driver license suspensions for drivers who repeatedly violate traffic laws. 

When found guilty of a violation, a driver has a set number of Alabama driving record points added to their driving history. Here’s a look at the points for some violations:

  • Speeding (26 or more mph over speed limit) receives 5 points
  • Reckless driving or reckless endangerment involving operating a motor vehicle receives 6 points
  • Disregarding a traffic control device, such as a stop sign or traffic light receives 2 points

If a driver obtains a certain number of Alabama driving record points within a two-year period, they may be subject to a driver license suspension. For example, 12-14 points in a two-year period may result in a suspension of up to 60 days. Additional points can  lead to suspensions ranging from 90 days to one year.

After a driving conviction is more than two years old, its associated points no longer count toward suspensions. However, the points permanently remain on an Alabama driving record.

How much is an MVR check in Alabama?

An MVR check in Alabama is $5.75 for a self-requested three-year driving record and $15 for a self-requested driver’s abstract, at the time of this writing. To order a three-year Alabama MVR check, employers can sign up for a subscription that costs $95 per year plus $10 for each certified driving record check performed.

Working with a background check company, like Checkr, can make ordering an Alabama MVR check more affordable. With our customizable packages, you can perform the specific checks necessary for your open positions while saving time and labor. Our add-ons enable you to include an MVR check as part of a comprehensive background check for $9.50.

Alabama driving record laws

Prior to requesting an Alabama MVR, employers should understand their compliance responsibilities established by applicable federal and state regulations. If you’re unsure which federal or Alabama laws apply to you and your organization, you may wish to consult with legal counsel and follow the strictest regulations.

Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

Summary: The DPPA is a federal law that protects driver license, vehicle registration, and driving record information privacy. To comply with the law when obtaining an MVR report, Alabama employers must typically gain written permission from candidates. However, the law does make exceptions, such as for commercial driver licenses. See law.

Rather than ordering directly from Georgia DDS, employers who work with a CRA, like Checkr, can benefit from customized pricing packages, fast turnaround times, and a more streamlined process when ordering Georgia MVR checks for multiple candidates at once. Checkr’s background check packages—which can include MVRs—allow you to select and pay for the screenings you need, exclude the ones you don’t, and reduce overhead costs associated with ordering these reports manually.

Get an Alabama MVR report from Checkr

Alabama MVRs can provide information that allows you to make informed decisions during the hiring process. By partnering with a trusted background check provider, like Checkr, you can streamline the background check process and may benefit from quicker, more accurate results. We offer MVRs, including DOT-compliant driving record checks, and other screening options to suit your needs.  Our modern technology and automated workflows allow most MVR checks to be performed in just a few minutes, and you can quickly review reports on your Checkr dashboard. Get started.

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Disclaimer

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the author

Hayley Harrison writes about a wide range of business topics and best practices, including background checks, candidate experience, and recruitment and retention. Her work includes educational articles, e-books, and blog posts.

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