Driver Verification: How Massachusetts’ DVS Tracks Commercial Drivers

By: Laura Inglis, CRIS

With more than a decade of experience under her belt, Laura Inglis heads up the C&S Insurance Claims Department.

commercial driver in Massachusetts with CDLStatistically speaking, today’s second-most-expensive business insurance claim is not one that results from a slip-and-fall, customer property damage, inventory theft, or even a fire. Instead, the second-most-costly loss event your business can suffer is a motor vehicle accident, averaging $45,000 per claim, according to data from The Hartford.

Last year, insurance companies paid out roughly $28 billion in commercial auto claims.

Not surprisingly then, commercial auto insurance is expensive. Depending on the type of business you operate and the number of vehicles in your fleet, commercial auto could represent a significant portion of your overall insurance premium. And the types of drivers you employ—safe, responsible, or something-less-than—could be a major cost-containment factor.

But with all the other tasks you’re overseeing, how can you keep up with driver quality or individual driver license issues? Believe it or not, the Massachusetts RMV can help. Massachusetts’ DVS (or Driver Verification System) is an incredibly convenient tool. In addition to fulfilling the FMCSA’s requirement for driver record inquiries (more on this below), it’s designed to support you—a Massachusetts business owner—in your fleet safety goals.

What is the Massachusetts Driver Verification System (DVS)?

The DVS helps you keep track of the status of your employee drivers’ licenses. Once enrolled, if a license expires or gets revoked, you will receive an email alert. This will allow you to take quick action to rectify the situation… and get your driver off the road, temporarily, if necessary.

What kind of driver information can Massachusetts employers gather from DVS?

The DVS provides the following information for any employee driver enrolled:

  • License class held (CDL, Passenger, Motorcycle)
  • License status and expiration date
  • If a 7D School Bus Certificate is held, status and expiration date
  • If a CDL is held, CDL self-certification type and expiration date
  • Organ Donor status
  • Any restrictions and endorsements held

Will DVS tell me if my employee drivers get caught speeding or running red lights?

No. DVS tracks license status ONLY. Employers are only notified if a license status changes.  DVS does not track citations, moving violations, speeding tickets, etc. However, that information is available via Public Driving Record (see more below).

How does my employee driver’s license status affect my insurance program?

Commercial drivers who are on the road, representing your company, without valid credentials are a major exposure. It’s called vicarious liability. And if the unlicensed employee ever got into an accident, it could drive any loss settlement up much higher.

What happens if the license status of one of my drivers changes?

You would be notified via email, then prompted to log into your DVS account to view the driver(s) that had a status change. DVS does not provide the reason(s) why the license status changed.

Are Massachusetts employers required to use the DVS?

No, according to our fleet safety expert, Joe Mokrisky, companies are not required to utilize this system. However, they are required—by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Section 391.25—to conduct an annual review of a driver’s motor vehicle record.

If you utilize Massachusetts’ DVS, you are satisfying the regulatory compliance of 391.25, and you would not have to run the yearly review described in that section. So, essentially, the DVS can save you some work.

If I enroll in the DVS, am I still required to keep driver qualification files?

Yes! Maintaining driver qualification files is a separate facet of commercial driver safety. Employers must keep these files current whether they use the DVS or not.

How should Massachusetts employers enter their drivers into the DVS?

As an employer, you should provide the license number, date of birth, first and last name of each driver you enroll into the DVS. You are also required to delete any driver who no longer works for you.

Can MA employers also access commercial drivers’ driving records through the DVS?

Yes! But this data is not automatically or freely available. The DVS allows you to request an “Unattested Public Driving Record” for any employee enrolled into the program. This record includes all surchargeable accidents, criminal and civil driving offenses for which a person was found either guilty or responsible, plus discretionary and administrative license suspension actions.

Is there any DVS training, to ensure I’m using this tool correctly?

Yes. All eServices Administrators and end users are required to complete a computer-based training (CBT) prior to using the RMV’s eServices Portal.

What does it cost to get Massachusetts DVS notifications or commercial driver records?

There is no fee to participate in the DVS program and receive license status notifications. If you choose to obtain an Unattested Public Driving Record, there is an $8.00 fee for each record requested. A monthly invoice will be posted to your DVS Account for viewing and online payment options.

How can my company start using DVS data for our drivers?

To sign up for the DVS program you will need to submit the required documentation.  Download and complete the Access Agreement, RMV Business Contact form, and the eServices Administrator form.  Once you have all of the required documentation ready to submit, scan and email to kristen.hagan@dot.state.ma.us.

 Do other states (besides Massachusetts) offer driver verification systems?

Yes! Different states have different names for these systems, which are broadly known as Employer Notification Services (ENS). An ENS is any program that automatically sends updates to employers who sign up for this information. (Here’s a list of state-by-state ENS systems.)

Overall, ENS programs are designed to raise a flag when a driver’s license status changes. Some systems will let you know when there is a crash and/or when a conviction is posted to a commercial driver’s record.

What else should I be doing to prevent costly commercial auto accidents and control costs on MA commercial auto insurance?

This is a GREAT question—one that every business owner should be asking. Here at C&S we don’t just offer commercial auto insurance, we work with our clients—throughout their policy terms—to implement and evaluate fleet safety measures, identify loss patterns, and vet/hire/retain ideal employee drivers.

If you think you could be doing more to manage your commercial auto risks, but you need help mapping out a plan, contact our team today: 508.339.2951.

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