Illinois Driving Record & MVR Checks

Sarah Archambault
February 12, 2024
6 min read

Illinois employers can run a motor vehicle report (MVR) on a job candidate or employee to reduce risk, create a safer workplace, and maintain compliance. MVRs show a candidate’s driving record and are typically used to assess employment eligibility for roles that require operating vehicles or machinery, or that require MVR checks by law.

Employers can use this guide to MVRs in Illinois to better understand what they need to know about IL driving records, including the types of information that may show up, what laws may apply, and how to check a motor vehicle report in Illinois.

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What is an Illinois MVR?

An Illinois motor vehicle report (MVR) provides details about a candidate’s driving record, such as traffic violations, license class and status, and some types of vehicle-related convictions. Illinois MVRs can be used as part of the pre-employment background check process to help employers make more informed hiring decisions. In certain industries, employers may also be legally required to perform an Illinois driving record check. For example, IL school bus drivers and rideshare drivers are subject to MVR checks. 

Additionally, Illinois employers regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) are required to conduct both pre-employment and annual DOT background checks on DOT-regulated commercial drivers. These employers may also need to comply with federal regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if they operate certain types of vehicles, including commercial trucks, vehicles that seat nine or more passengers, and those that transport hazardous materials.

Types of Illinois motor vehicle records

There are two types of Illinois driving records maintained by the Driver Services Department of the Illinois Secretary of State. Both types of MVRs in Illinois are certified by the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. 

Affected Driving Record Abstract 

An Illinois Affected Driving Record Abstract includes all actions on an individual’s driving history, along with confidential information not contained in a public driving record. It is sometimes called a “Court Purposes Abstract” and is only accessible by the affected individual, law enforcement, courts, the individual’s attorney, and prosecutors. 

Public Driving Record Abstract 

An Illinois Public Driving Record Abstract contains an individual’s driving history, including convictions for traffic violations, license status, sanctions, and serious vehicle-related convictions like DUIs. Sometimes called a “public abstract,” this type of record is available to the affected driver, insurance companies, and employers. 

Why should employers order Illinois MVR reports?

Employers often order MVR reports in Illinois to maintain compliance, mitigate risk for their business, and protect workplace and public safety—especially if their employees operate a vehicle. By reviewing a candidate’s driving record, license, status, and driving-related convictions, you can make an informed decision about the candidate’s qualifications and eligibility for a role.

In addition, reviewing motor vehicle reports in Illinois can allow you to safeguard yourself against potential liability claims and higher insurance premiums. Performing MVR checks could also help ensure your ability to keep your commercial insurance provider in certain cases.

During the hiring process, MVRs are often part of a comprehensive employment background screening program that includes other types of background checks, such as criminal background checks, employment and education verification, civil court checks, and more. 

How to get an Illinois driving record

Individuals can request their own Illinois Affected Driving Record Abstract or Public Driving Record Abstract in person at a Driver Service Facility using the Driving Abstract Request Form. Individuals can also request their Illinois driving records online or by mail. 

Employers can only order a Public Driving Record Abstract in person or by mail. There is no option for third parties to order MVRs online in Illinois. Before releasing a Public Driving Record Abstract to third parties, the state of Illinois provides ten days’ notice of the request to the individual in question with the requestor’s name and date of request. Employers receive the record after the ten-day waiting period, plus mailing time. 

To recruit faster, streamline the hiring process, and take some of the strain off of HR staff, Illinois employers can choose to partner with a qualified background check service provider, like Checkr, to handle pre-employment MVRs in Illinois and other states where your organization needs to hire. Employers that choose to partner with a consumer reporting agency (CRA) are required to comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), so it’s important to work with an FCRA-compliant background check service. 

Under the FCRA, employers must provide written notice to candidates of their intent to conduct a background check and receive written consent before starting the check. In the event an employer decides not to hire the candidate based on information found on the background check, they are required by law to follow the adverse action process.

What information shows up on an Illinois driving record?

A Public Driving Record Abstract in Illinois, or Public Abstract, shows information such as vehicle-related convictions, DUIs, license status, and sanctions. Employers will typically find all of the information they need about a candidate’s driving record in this type of abstract. Certain types of personal information must be omitted from these public driving records, per both state and federal law. 

Affected Driving Record Abstracts feature personal information plus an individual’s full driving record. This may include license status, sanctions, driving-related convictions, and accidents. Information on Affected Driving Record Abstracts is only available to the driver in question and some authorized third parties, like law enforcement and the courts. 

What is the Illinois violation point system?

The state of Illinois uses a violation point to assign levels of severity to traffic violations. For example, reckless driving is 55 points, while passing improperly is 20 points, and a speeding ticket for driving 1-5 miles over the speed limit is 5 points. When an individual hits a certain number of points on an Illinois driver’s license record during a set amount of time, it could cause license suspension or revocation.

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Illinois driving record laws

Illinois employers that choose to conduct an MVR in Illinois should comply with all federal, state, and local regulations. Employers who are unsure of which laws apply may wish to adhere to the strictest regulations to avoid potential liability.

Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)

Summary: Under the federal DPPA, the use of motor vehicle records is limited to individuals and entities that have a permissible use under law—helping to protect an individual’s personal information. See law

Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)

Summary: Under the IHRA, which includes 775 ILCS 5/2-103 and Senate Bill 1480, it is a civil rights violation to use arrest or conviction records, including vehicle-related convictions, as a basis for denying employment. Illinois employers are not permitted to review expunged, sealed, or impounded arrest records unless exclusions apply. 

For certain types of positions, such as those that require criminal background checks by law, employers are permitted to consider conviction records if a “substantial relationship” exists between the job and the offense. The candidate must also be considered an “unreasonable risk” to workplace safety or property. When reviewing conviction records, employers are required to consider specific types of information as well as follow mandated steps, including adverse action, should they decide not to hire a candidate. See law.

Illinois Employee Background Fairness Act (EBFA)

Summary: This statewide act prohibits employers from discriminating against candidates based on their criminal history. Under this law, employers cannot consider arrests that do not have conviction information. Should a candidate have a conviction, an individualized assessment must be made before making a final hiring decision. In the event an employer chooses not to hire a candidate based on information in the report, an adverse action process must be followed.

Illinois Vehicle Code

Summary: Under this statewide code, information on a motor vehicle record in Illinois that is available to individuals and employers is protected under the federal DPPA. However, the Illinois Secretary of State is required to share information in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) with the US Department of Transportation and other state driver licensing administrators. See law

Illinois Freedom of Information Act

Summary: The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is designed to help ensure access to a wide range of public records, including reports, forms, records, etc. However, certain types of information found on Illinois MVRs are prohibited from being disclosed under the Illinois Vehicle Code. See law

Illinois Transportation Network Providers Act

Summary: Passed in 2018, this statewide act requires that rideshare drivers undergo background checks, which include reviewing an IL driving record to ensure a valid driver’s license and confirm that the individual does not have three or more moving violations or one major violation, like reckless driving, within the last three years. See law.

Get an Illinois MVR with Checkr

Illinois employers may order MVRs to determine a job candidate’s eligibility, reduce risk, and promote safety, especially when hiring for roles that require operating a vehicle or highly regulated positions. Employers that choose to partner with a qualified background check provider, like Checkr, can benefit from a more streamlined background check process, get more accurate results, and hire faster. Checkr offers Illinois employers a wide range of background check options, including MVR checks, which can be ordered as standalone checks or added to a comprehensive pre-employment background check. Get started now.

Get an Illinois MVR check today

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.

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About the author

Sarah writes about small business topics and corporate communications. She has written on a wide range of topics, including background checks, hiring trends, company culture, and employee training and development. Her work includes educational articles, press releases, newsletters, and employee onboarding collateral. 

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