Employee Driving Records in New York

Most aspects of the commercial driving business are monitored or facilitated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including rules regarding the review of commercial drivers' records. However, each state does have its own set of rules and procedures regarding commercial drivers.

Learn how you can review employee driving records in New York.

Eligibility for Obtaining Driver Records

In order to request someone else's driving records in New York, you must have permission under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). There are a number of provisions under the DPPA that allow various individuals to gather the personal DMV records of others.

For business owners specifically, the law allows information to be requested by legitimate businesses and their:

  • Agents.
  • Employees.
  • Contractors.

In these cases, the information may only be ordered to:

  • Verify the accuracy of personal information.
  • Obtain the correct information for the purpose of preventing fraud.

Other qualifying circumstances under the DPPA in New York can be found here.

Ordering NY Employee Driving Records

Once you've determined that you're allowed to order an employee driving record, there are several options for how to request such information from the New York DMV, including:

  • By mail.
  • In person.
  • Search accounts.
  • Freedom of Information requests.

By Mail

To mail in a request for employee driving records from the NY Department of Motor Vehicles, you will need:

  • A completed Request for DMV Records (Form MV-15).
  • A photocopy of your driver's license OR government-issued ID card.*
  • The appropriate fee.

* In lieu of this, you may also have your signature notarized on the form.

Fees vary, depending on the type of records you're requesting. For more information, see the Fees section of this page.

Mail the above information to:

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
MV-15 Processing
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

In Person

To request a New York employee driving record in person, you'll need:

Bring the above information to any NYS DMV office to have your order processed.

NY Search Accounts

This option is best for business owners or others who need to frequently order employee driving records. To open a Dial-In Search Account with the NYS DMV, you'll need:

Mail the above information to:

Data Services—New Search Account
NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

Once the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles receives your information, you will be sent:

  • An account number.
  • A temporary password.
  • User manuals.

After your account has been established, you may order searches by visiting the New York State DMV's log-in page and using your account number to sign in.

Freedom of Information Requests

You may also order employee driving records from the New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) office. To do so, you will need:

Mail the above information to:

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
Freedom of Information Law Offices
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228

Third-Party Record Gathering Options

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does allow employers to utilize third-party companies to collect the above information on their behalf.

Compared to contacting the New York Department of Motor Vehicles and every other state agency where a prospective employee has held a license recently, utilizing an outside company to handle your employee driving record requests is potentially:

  • Faster.
  • Easier.
  • More cost-effective.

The FMCSA requires only that the information be as accurate and complete as possible, and that third-party contractors use state and federal records.

Outside companies would also be responsible for keeping the driver's qualification file on record.

Info on NY Employee Driving Records

In accordance with the Driver's Privacy Protection Act, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles will only release certain information on employee driving records, including any facts relating to:

  • Traffic accidents.
  • Traffic violations.
  • The status of a driver's license.

Other information is strictly prohibited from distribution by the provisions of the DPPA, including:

  • Photographs.
  • Social Security numbers.
  • Client Identification Numbers (CID).
  • Medical information.
  • Disability information.

Fees for NY Employee Driving Records

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles charges a number of different fees for employee driving record requests, depending on a number of factors. Currently, the costs are:

  • In-person or FOIL requests: $10.
  • Mail-in requests:
    • Driving abstract (records for the last 4 years): $10.
    • Driving record history (AKA “lifetime abstract"): $10.
    • Vehicle title abstract: $10.
    • Driver's license application photocopy: $11.
    • Certified suspension or revocation order photocopy: $11.
    • Ticket/summons photocopy: $11.
    • Ticket disposition photocopy: $11.

The NYS DMV accepts payments in the form of checks made payable to “Commissioner of Motor Vehicles."

For Dial-In Search accounts, payments work differently. When first opening your account, you will have to make an initial deposit of an estimated 2 months' worth of usage.

After that, each online search will cost $7.

Federal Regulations

There is a wide range of information anyone hiring a commercial driver must obtain when compiling an employee driving record.

The FMCSA requires that prospective employers must obtain the following information from every state where a driver has held a license or permit during the past 3 years:

  • A copy of the driver's motor vehicle record.
  • General identification information.
  • Employment verification from each previous employer.
  • Each previous employer's:
    • Name.
    • Address.
    • The date contacted by the new prospective employer.
  • Any accident history.
  • Any previous criminal or traffic violations.
  • Any violations of size and weight laws.
  • Any alcohol or controlled substance prohibition violations.
    • If so: evidence that the driver either passed or failed to take or complete a rehabilitation program.
  • Any alcohol or drug test failures or refusals to be tested.

The information must be gathered by BOTH:

  • Collecting driving records from the state either directly or through a third party.
  • Investigating the driver's safety performance history with Department of Transportation (DOT)-regulated employers.

The results of each investigation must be placed within the driver's qualification file within 30 days of when the driver's employment begins.

If an employer cannot be reached or record cannot be found within a state, you will instead have to enter into the file evidence of a good-faith effort to find such information, then contact the FMCSA about the incident.

If a driver has no previous employment with the DOT in the past 3 years, you will have to provide documentation saying no investigation was possible.

Previous employer responses and state-collected driving records on each employee must be kept for 1 year.

Prospective Drivers' Rights

A prospective employee has the right to review the information compiled by his or her potential employer, up to 30 days after they begin working for the new employer. They must ask to do so through a written request.

As an employer, you must provide the information within 5 business days of receiving the request.

If the driver wishes to appeal any information he or she believes to be false, he or she must then contact the previous employer they believe offered the false information.

The previous employer will then have 15 days to either send the corrected information to you or contest the driver's claim that the information they provided was not correct.

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review