Employers in Florida may use a Florida driving record check when screening candidates during the hiring process. Florida motor vehicle reports (MVRs) give a detailed look into a candidate’s driving history and may be required by law, depending on the role. This guide to MVR checks in Florida aims to help employers understand what laws may apply, what type of information may be revealed, and how to get an MVR in Florida.
What shows up on a Florida driving record?
A driving record check in Florida, also called a motor vehicle report (MVR), searches a candidate’s Florida driving history – including license class and status, traffic violations, accidents, and crimes committed with a vehicle such as DUIs. Employers often include a FL driving record as part of a pre-employment background check to promote safety. Employers can choose to conduct a Florida motor vehicle check directly through the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) or partner with a trusted background check provider, like Checkr.
Types of Florida MVRs
Florida has 3 different types of MVRs:
- 3-year driving record contains 3 years of motor vehicle history, along with driver license status and ID card issuances, driver education and exam records, traffic violations and crashes, and certain types of other correspondence relevant to a person’s Florida driving record.
- 7-year driving record includes the same types of information reported in the 3-year driving record but goes back 7 years.
- Complete driving record reports driving information going back about 11 years. This includes everything found on both the 3- and 7-year driving records, plus additional information such as traffic infractions that were omitted from other records after completing Florida traffic school.
Who maintains Florida driving records?
Florida driving records are maintained by the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department. Several other state authorities are also involved in enforcing Florida driving laws, including:
- Florida state courts that keep records related to traffic violations that resulted in civil or criminal court cases.
- Division of Motorist Services, which is part of the FLHSMV, offers a range of driver-related services such as licensing, registration, vehicle titling, and driver’s education.
- Florida Highway Patrol, a law enforcement agency, oversees driver safety and commercial vehicles along nearly 50 million miles of Florida roads.
Florida crash reports, which provide detailed information on accidents, are also available and can be requested using the FLHSMV’s Florida Crash Portal.
What is considered a Florida traffic violation?
When a Florida driver commits a traffic violation or breaks a traffic law, they can be charged with a uniform traffic citation, also known as a ticket. Tickets are typically issued for infractions such as texting while driving or running a stop sign. If the violation was serious, such as death or bodily injury with a motor vehicle or DUI, the driver could also be charged with a crime.
How long a Florida traffic violation stays on a person’s driving record depends on the type of incident as follows:
- Moving and non-moving violations: Typically these types of infractions stay on a Florida MVR for 3-5 years. However, more serious violations could stay on the record longer.
- Alcohol-related violations: In Florida, violations committed while driving intoxicated are considered very serious and remain on someone’s Florida MVR for 75 years.
- Criminal violations: Florida vehicle-related criminal offenses stay on a driver’s record permanently due to their serious nature. However, records may be sealed or expunged under certain circumstances.
- Commercial driver license (CDL) violations: Depending on the type of violation, incidents committed under a CDL could stay on a CDL driver’s record for 10 or more years.
Why should employers run Florida MVR reports?
To help maintain safety for positions that involve driving, Florida employers may choose to conduct a Florida MVR report during the hiring process. In some cases, such as school bus drivers, a motor vehicle check may be required by law. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) also requires organizations to conduct both pre-employment and annual employee DOT background checks on DOT-regulated commercial drivers. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations may also apply to companies that operate certain types of vehicles, including commercial trucks, vehicles that transport hazardous materials, and passenger vehicles with a seating capacity for 9 or more passengers.
Reviewing a Florida motor vehicle report can also help employers mitigate risk – especially if a candidate’s driving history is poor. Incidents like traffic violations or on-the-job accidents can affect insurance premiums or even the ability to have a commercial policy. Knowing a candidate’s motor vehicle history up front can help employers make more informed hiring decisions.
How to get an MVR in Florida
There are a few ways to get a Florida driving record, depending on the information needed. For example, individuals that want to check their driver license, can do so for free on the FLHSMV’s online Driver License Check. People can also purchase a copy of their own 3-year, 7-year, or complete Florida MVR using the Driver License Record Request Form and submitting it to the FLHSMV in person or by mail. Individuals may also access their Florida driving record through a court clerk or an authorized third-party provider, like their insurance agent.
Employers conducting a Florida MVR as part of the hiring process can also access Florida driving records directly. However, employers may choose to work with a qualified background check provider instead. When working with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to conduct background checks, employers are required to comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under the FCRA, employers must provide the candidate with notice prior to conducting a background check, receive written consent, and follow the adverse action process should the employer decide not to hire a person based on information revealed in the background check.
Florida MVR laws
Employers that conduct a MVR check in Florida must be sure to comply with both federal and state regulations. Employers that are unsure of Florida MVR laws may wish to comply with the strictest federal, state, and local laws to avoid potential liability. Here is what you need to know about federal and state of Florida driving record laws:
Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)
Summary: The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is designed to protect a driver’s personal information. Under this law, use of personal information that appears on motor vehicle records is limited to certain purposes. See law.
Florida Sunshine Law
Summary: Florida Statute 119.0712(2), or the Florida Sunshine Law, permits Florida traffic records to be treated as public records, with certain exceptions. The law applies to driving records maintained by the FLHSMV and other state agencies. Some personal information on FLHSMV public records may only be released when authorized under the DPPA. In addition, people with high-risk positions, such as law enforcement officers and their families, are exempt from any open public record requirements under this law. See law.
Public Records Act (Government Code § 6253)
Summary: California public records that are open to inspection can be viewed by any person, unless the record is exempt from disclosure by law. But under the Public Records Act, viewing times are limited to the office hours of the agency that maintains them. Certain records may also be available online. See law.
Florida Senate Bill 1614
Summary: Under this law, which went into effect in March 2023, crash report data in a computerized database is now considered confidential and exempt from public inspection and copying requirements. However, the media is still permitted to access a crash report as long as personal information about those involved with the accident is excluded. Crash reports are also permitted to be available for 60 days after the report is filed to any person or entity with eligible access under the DPPA. Additionally, certain personal information from Florida traffic tickets is exempt from public records and copying requirements, including driver’s date of birth, license number, license plate number, telephone number and full address beyond their zip code. See law.
Florida House Bill 1359
Summary: Passed in 2021, this law features 4 public record exemptions that make certain types of private information on Florida motor vehicle records exempt from disclosure, including information received by FLHSMV during investigations of:
- suspected violations of ch. 322, F. S. (relating to driver licenses and ID cards)
- suspected violations by private rebuilt inspection providers
- suspected violations of ch. 319, F.S. (relating to motor vehicle titles)
- suspected violations of ch. 322, F.S. (relating to motor vehicle dealer and manufacturer licensing)
Get a Florida MVR with Checkr
Florida organizations whose employees operate certain types of equipment, drive company vehicles, or use their own vehicles for sales calls and other driving-related responsibilities, may choose to conduct a Florida MVR check to promote driver safety and reduce risk.
Working with a qualified background check provider, like Checkr, to conduct Florida driving record checks can streamline the process for efficient hiring. Checkr offers multiple background searches, including MVR checks as a standalone screening or add-on to a comprehensive background check, and Continuous MVR to search for incidents on an ongoing basis. Our easy-to-review reports are fast and reliable, with most completing within minutes. Get started.
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
As Compliance Manager, Danielle analyzes the ever-changing laws and regulations affecting background screening to ensure that Checkr and its customers stay compliant. She also writes content to educate employers about background checks, screening best practices, and fair hiring laws.