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Do Employee Background Checks Include Traffic Violations?

You’re on your way to the grocery store, and as you approach a traffic light, you think you can make it through before it changes. Then, you see lights flashing behind you. You pull over and know a traffic ticket is in your future. Plenty of drivers receive them, so this shouldn’t matter regarding your driving record. On the other hand, you remember you have a job interview coming up. How will this ticket impact your chances of landing that position?

Sometimes you can experience real consequences from traffic violations. Over seven million drivers throughout the United States may have lost their license due to traffic debts they owe. Not only do these violations have a significant impact on you financially, but they also affect your career. The big question is how they impact you when you’re looking for a job. Do they show up in employment background checks? Let’s find out.


Traffic Violations and Employment Background Checks

You’ll find that traffic violations will show up in an employment background check one of two different ways.

  1. Criminal citation classification
  2. Potential employers check driving records

Otherwise, your potential employer will not be able to find any evidence of the traffic violation.

If you receive a criminal traffic citation, it will show up in a background check as a felony or misdemeanor offense. Many violations have criminal offense classifications and include:

  • Being a habitual offender.
  • You are driving under the influence of alcohol or an illicit substance.
  • You are driving without a license.
  • You leave the scene of an accident.
  • Reckless driving.
  • Vehicular homicide or manslaughter.

When driving record checks occur, potential employers will find civil or minor traffic violations. Under most circumstances, prospective employers don’t need to pull driving records. However, if candidates need to perform a job where they need to drive, like using a company car to meet clients or for trucking, then they’ll conduct the check.

A driving record screening will show:

  • All traffic citations.
  • The dates of each citation.
  • The citation’s outcomes.


Traffic Violations and Landing a Job

Under some circumstances, traffic violations can prevent you from landing a job. However, these situations don’t come up often. You’ll find that it’s going to depend on the type of traffic violation and the job you’re trying to land. For example, if the position doesn’t require driving, then the prospective employer will look at criminal offenses.

Criminal citations may stop you from getting the job depending on how severe the traffic violation was. Remember that, if you have civil violations with unpaid fines, those will also show up on your record as criminal citations.

  • Are you applying for a job that includes driving? Then, if your driving record includes traffic violations, it can hurt your chances. Here are some factors to consider:
  • The seriousness of the traffic violation: If you have a speeding ticket for five miles over the speed limit, it won’t be as damaging on your record as one that’s for 10 miles or over.
  • The age of the violation: If the offense is seven years ago or longer, it should drop off your record. The longer ago it took place, the better your chance is for landing the position.
  • Multiple violations consecutively: A red flag for employers is seeing a habitual offender.
  • Paying the fine: If you don’t pay the fine, that will lead to a criminal offense and loss of your driver’s license.
  • The company’s traffic violation policies: Every company has different traffic violation policies. Look at them before applying for the job to determine if you see any problems that may arise.


How to Prepare for the Background Check

Go to the Department of Motor Vehicle and request a copy of your driving record. If you’re applying for a job involving driving, this is the best way to prepare for the background check. If you have a traffic violation whereby you were found guilty for driving under the influence, this conviction is not a minor infraction. Therefore, you must be honest regarding everything prospective employers see when analyzing your records.

However, if you have speeding or parking tickets, you don’t have to worry about those as much. When you know what you’re prospective employers are looking at, you can handle yourself more professionally. What may not seem significant to you may be an issue the company needs to address. Therefore, it’s best to respect their decisions and not be defensive regarding your history.


How to Land the Job

Traffic violations may be concerning you. However, there are many ways of improving your chances. Here are some suggestions:

  • Safety: Avoid getting more traffic violations by implementing safe driving habits.
  • Fines: If you have any penalties, pay them immediately. The only time you shouldn’t pay a fine right away is if you’re contesting a ticket. Otherwise, don’t wait.
  • Policies: Develop an understanding regarding the company’s traffic violation policy and its rules regarding how long ago they occur.
  • Questions: Prepare yourself for explaining everything on your driving record. That way, potential employers are confident you’re a responsible and safe driver.


About Who is Conducting Thes Background Checks

If you have worries about who is conducting these background checks, don’t. Many companies specialize in these screenings. They typically fall into three categories:

  • Private investigators
  • Employment screening companies
  • Data brokers

If you’re attempting to land a job with a large corporation, they have a contract with a third-party background checking company. Under most circumstances, screening companies work with employers on a less formal basis. For example, some companies work nationwide, while others will focus on a specif area of the country.

The data background checks companies gather; it is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That means the employer and the company have responsibilities and obligations they must follow. That means you have rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). They include:

  • Disclosure: Employers must disclose that they’re performing a background check and that it’s occurring outside of the company.
  • Permission: The potential employee must furnish written authorization to the prospective employer to perform the screening.
  • Rights: The prospective employee has a right to view the background check.


Wrapping Up

Even though traffic violations can affect your chances of landing a job, that doesn’t mean they always will. Employers use driving records when they’re hiring candidates who need to drive their company vehicles. Prepare yourself for many other background checks, as well. These include criminal, civil, credit, medical, and education background checks. That way, prospective employers can develop a firm understanding of who they’re hiring during the decision process