Industry Insights

How the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) Helps Your CDL Onboarding Process

Employers who work in the safety-sensitive industry are required to abide by government guidelines and policies for pre-employment and on-going employment processes. Those who are onboarding a position that requires the employee to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must pull Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs)as part of the onboarding procedure. To gain access to that information, the American Association of Motor Vehicles (AAMVA) has a Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) which will help employers verify CDL information.

Why is CDLIS Important As You Onboard a CDL Driver?

CDLIS is a nationwide computer system that allows State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SLDAs) to determine if a CDL is authorized to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. It also allows authorized users to retrieve important records and information regarding a driver and ensures that drivers have only one driver’s license and one complete driver record.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations mandate employers who are onboarding a new commercial driver to pull an MVR from all states where the commercial driver has held a license within the past three years. These MVRs make it easy for employers to see any violations or statuses that could prevent a commercial driver from driving. MVRs generally include:

  • Driver’s License Information (driver name, height, weight, date of birth, etc.)
  • Violations
  • License Status (Active/Suspended/Revoked)
  • Misdemeanor Moving Violations/Convictions
  • Accidents
  • State Based Driving Record Points
  • Automatic Renewal Notices
  • FCRA Compliance Assistance
  • Online Tracking & Reporting
  • Applicant Order Entry
  • Automated MVRs
  • Consolidated Invoicing


According to AAMVA, CDLIS also allows SLDAs to transmit out-of-state convictions and withdrawals, transfer a driver record when a CDL holder moves to another state, and get responses to requests for driver status and history.

So, How Do Carriers Know Where the Driver Has Actually Held a CDL?

When carriers run a CDLIS report, it actually provides the exact states where the driver has held a CDL. Then based on the CDLIS report, the employer can confidently order the MVRs required during the onboarding process.

“A CDLIS report helps employers make a more all-encompassing and comprehensive search on a driver. If the CDLIS shows that the driver has held additional driver’s licenses in other states, then the carrier can pull another MVR gaining more information into that driver’s history and thus make a more informed staffing decision for a safer workplace.” – James Stanley, Director of Sales – Transportation at DISA Global Solutions

Under FMCSA regulations, an employer must request a pre-hire MVR in all states where a CDL license was held within the previous 3-year period, and then annually as part of the employee’s annual review process. This allows the employer to review their records and determine if the driver meets requirements or needs to be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). MVRs let employers see if the driver has had violations, accidents, or inspection fractions which could all lead to risks and liability. To maintain a safe workplace, MVRs help employers determine a driver’s ability to perform safety-sensitive duties by better understanding their driving habits.

How DISA Can Help

DISA’s Transportation Compliance Team (DTC) can assist you with maintaining transportation compliance under FMCSA regulations. By helping you generate your MVRs quickly and efficiently employers will determine whether a driver is qualified to operate a CMV for the job at hand and will effectively be able to make a safer, more informed hiring decision.

Additional transportation services at DISA include:

Relevant Links:

American Association of Motor Vehicles (AAMVA)

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) CDLIS Grant

Commercial Driver’s License Information System


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For more than 30 years, DISA has been a provider of workplace safety and compliance services. DISA helps companies make more informed staffing decisions by offering a broad array of industry-leading methodologies to make employee screening faster and more accurate. For more information about DISA call 1-800-752-6432 or email sales@disa.com.