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motor vehicle record (MVR)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A motor vehicle record (MVR) is the documentation of a person’s driving history. The information in an MVR includes information about the driver's traffic citations, vehicular crimes, accidents, driving under the influence (DUI) convictions and the number of points on the individual’s driver’s license. Additionally, these records may contain personally identifying information (PII) such as age, date of birth, gender, eye color, hair color, weight and height. While the PII on an MVR can be a security concern, it can also be used in two-factor authentication (2FA) to help prevent identity theft.

MVR may be used by insurance companies to determine insurance rates for drivers, with those with clean records getting lower rates. Generally, insurance companies can look back five years into an individual’s MVR.The records may also be used by employers to determine the viability of a prospective employee. These records are especially important in the case of jobs involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

In the United States, the Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), was enacted in 1994 to protect the privacy of personal information assembled by State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs). The DPPA prohibits the release or use of personal information obtained in connection with a motor vehicle record. It sets penalties for violations and makes violators legally liable should PII be sold or released to third-party marketers without the driver's permission. Personal information as defined by the DPPA includes photographs, Social Security Numbers (SSNs), Client Identification Number (CIDs), name and address, telephone number and medical or disability information. It does not include traffic accidents, traffic violations or status of the driver's license.

This was last updated in March 2017

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