The New Standard in Driver Safety: Continuous Motor Vehicle Record Checks

October 13, 2021
Checkr Editor

Over the last decade, the way we navigate the world has changed immensely. Instead of calling for a cab, we summon a ride in less than 10 minutes from our phones. As of January 2019, Lyft had recorded a whopping 65 million app downloads and reported a network of over 1.4 million drivers. According to 2020 statistics, Uber had a network of 1 million drivers in the US alone. Before, you might wait days or weeks for a package to arrive. Now, we click a button and one of Amazon’s 75,000 drivers delivers it to your door in two-days or less. 

The growth of the driving economy presents new challenges for business leaders. In this blog, we’ll discuss how driver safety standards have changed and why it’s imperative businesses adopt a new standard in driver safety to keep their customers, their drivers, and the roads safe. Let’s start with understanding the magnitude of growth this business segment has experienced. 

The driving economy has exploded 

According to PolicyAdvice, ​​about 25% of the entire US population uses ride-sharing at least once a month. But there’s more than just an influx of Uber and Lyft drivers. The rise of ecommerce means an expansion of truck drivers as almost every item consumed in the US rides on a truck to its final destination. 

To understand just how many employed drivers are on our roads, consider this data from the American Trucking Association. In 2018, 36.9 million trucks were registered and used for business purposes (excluding government and farm). In 2019, 7.95 million people were employed throughout the economy in jobs that relate to trucking activity (excluding the self-employed). And despite some supply-chain issues, for-hire truck tonnage index (number of tons transported) increased 0.5% in August 2021. 

For operations and compliance leaders who prioritize lowering their insurance costs, mitigating the likelihood of negative driving-related outcomes, and improving their brand reputation, background checks are an essential element of a driver hiring program. 

However, you need more frequent visibility into your driver’s record in order to thrive in the driving economy. This means enhancing your MVR (motor vehicle record check) program to add an additional layer of safety. 

To understand why, let’s discuss how driver safety has evolved. 

The evolution of driver safety 

In the past, an organization would run a background check on a new driver and when approved, they would go to work. But the day after you run an MVR, your knowledge about that driver’s record starts to fade.

Why? Well, the question suggests itself—after a background check is run on a driver, doesn’t that leave you in the dark as to what could happen the next day? Or the next month? The answer is yes. A safer and more efficient driver workforce now requires continuous monitoring.  

While annual motor vehicle record checks are a foundational element of any safety program, organizations are expected to stay up to date on drivers’ records to understand violations and license status in real time. Simply stated, continuous checks maintain a higher level of safety. With the introduction of new drivers on the road and the steady growth of the driving economy, now is the time to upgrade your safety standards. 

The new safety standard: continuous MVR

While annual checks are still important to driver safety programs, the evolution to continuous checks makes perfect sense when you realize the benefits of regularly screening drivers. Here are three reasons why compliance leaders and operations innovators need to onboard continuous MVR checks: 

1. Recent violations are more predictive of future negative outcomes

Drivers with violations in the past year are 43% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to drivers with no violations. The ability to receive an alert when a driver has a crash not only keeps your customers safer, it allows you to build a safer driver workforce. If a driver has a crash, you’ll want to know about it right away, instead of learning about it months later. 

2. Continuous checks find records sooner than an annual MVR

According to a Checkr data study, on average, continuous monitoring finds new incidents 4+ months sooner than an annual MVR rerun. If you’re relying on pre-employment checks or annual reruns, you might have a driver in your workforce who had a violation that you never heard about.

3. Annual MVR finds new violations, continuous MVR alerts you sooner

11% of all annual MVR reruns have at least one new violation. That means you could be missing out on new violations or alerts—critical information—about your drivers. Continuous checks allow you to stay up to date in real time to get a holistic view of your driver workforce. 

While these statistics underscore the importance of continuous checks, it’s also helpful to understand other benefits, from mitigating legal compliance risks to potentially lowering insurance costs. 

What are the benefits of continuous checks? 

Below are the reasons why you should consider implementing continuous safety measures: 

Reduce legal and compliance risks

Make sure your drivers meet your standards to drive for you. With continuous monitoring, you’ll be notified when your drivers have had their license revoked or suspended. Continuous MVRs give you the ability to identify the most at-risk drivers by automatically running MVRs on drivers who have had a violation or status change. 

Find charges that would otherwise go unfound

Based on Checkr data, of the major violations that are found, 50% are found within 4 months of the initial MVR. That means 4 months after your driver starts working, you could be missing information. It’s critical that you continuously monitor your drivers, both to keep them safe, as well as your customers and the general roadways. 

Increase productivity

Instead of waiting for annual MVRs to alert you of driver safety, continuous check alerts you whenever an issue arises. Not only will you be able to immediately handle issues, you can anticipate problems in the future armed with the knowledge of upcoming license expirations. 

By continuously monitoring candidates, you don’t have to run or adjudicate MVRs on an ad hoc basis post-hire. And if you have an API background check integration, you can simply “set it and forget it” because Checkr will continually look at records and only pull the MVR if there’s an incident. Ultimately, the more knowledge you have of your driver workforce, the more time you can spend focusing on long-term projects. 

Improve brand reputation

Continuous monitoring is the gold standard of safety. By communicating your standards whether in email, in-app, or on your website, you can build trust by sharing how you’re using continuous checks to increase safeness. As competition soars for driving networks, ecommerce, and more, adopting the highest safety standards sets you apart from competitors. 

Reduce cost

Insurance providers want to see that you’re taking clear steps to improve safety and decrease risk. Adopt the highest standard in driver safety and show your insurance provider how much sooner you find new incidents. 

Moreover, if someone is driving for your business with a revoked or ineligible license, your insurance provider may not cover the incident. Continuous MVR identifies and reports revoked or suspended license status so that you can suspend those drivers until they fix the issue. This means you reduce the danger of ineligible drivers getting in expensive accidents at your expense, saving you money in the long-term.

Final thoughts on continuous checks 

As the driving economy continues to grow, best-in-class organizations are implementing continuous safety programs to keep their customers, drivers, and roadways safe. In order to compete, you need a background check partner who will help you build efficiencies into your hiring and safety processes. Continuous MVR allows your brand to expand your driver network, improve safety, create cost savings, and build a stronger brand. 

For more information on continuous MVR, click here

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