Will Your Traffic Violations Show Up on an Employment Background Check? 28 Jan 2019


Bright lights are whirling behind you. You pull over to the side of the road. With a groan, you know what’s coming. You’re getting a speeding ticket. It’s not the end of the world, right? Plenty of people have traffic violations on their driving records. Then, you remember you have a job interview next week. Will this ticket affect your chances of getting the job?

Simple things like speeding tickets or illegal parking can have real consequences. An estimated seven million people have had their licenses revoked because of fines associated with traffic violations.

These violations can have a big impact on your finances. They can also have an impact on your career. How can they affect your job prospects? Will your traffic violations show up on employment background checks?

Do Your Traffic Violations Show Up on Background Checks?

Traffic violations show up one of two ways. Either they are classified as a criminal citation or your employer runs a check on your driving record. Otherwise, traffic violations don’t come up.

Criminal traffic citations show up on a criminal background check as a misdemeanor or felony offense. Many violations are considered criminal offenses. Criminal offenses are usually major violations. They include being a habitual offender, driving without a license or with a suspended license, driving away from the scene of an accident, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, and vehicular homicide or manslaughter.

Minor traffic violations, or civil violations, appear on driving record checks. Employers don’t usually need to run driving checks, but they will in certain cases. If the job involves driving, like trucking or using a company car to meet clients, they will run a driving record check. A driving record background check shows your past traffic citations, when you got them, and what the outcome was.

Traffic violations can and do show up on certain background checks. But, does that mean traffic violations will stop you from getting the job?

Do Traffic Violations Stop You from Getting Jobs?

View from a vehicle's side mirror while stopped in traffic

Traffic violations can stop you from getting jobs, but only in limited circumstances. Whether a traffic citation will affect your chances depends on the job and the type of violation. If the position doesn’t include driving, then employers will still look at any criminal offenses. How can traffic violations hinder your job prospects?

  • Criminal citation. If your traffic violation is a criminal offense, it might stop you from getting the job. Be aware that unpaid fines for civil violations also show up as a criminal citation.

If the job duties include driving, then any traffic violation can hurt your chances. Keep these factors in mind when you’re applying for jobs:

  • How serious was the violation? Having a speeding ticket for driving five miles over the speed limit isn’t as damaging to you as having a ticket for driving 10 miles over.
  • How long ago did you get the violation? Most violations drop off your record after seven years. The longer ago it was, the better your chances are of getting the job.
  • Have you gotten multiple violations in a short period of time? Being a habitual offender is usually a red flag for employers.
  • Have you paid the fine for the violation? Not paying civil fines can lead to the violation becoming a criminal offense. By not paying, you could also lose your driver’s license.
  • What are the traffic violation policies of the company you’re applying for? Each company has different policies on traffic violations. Looking at these policies ahead of time will inform you if your violations might be a problem.

You now know how your traffic violations could impact your job opportunities. Is there anything you can do to get the job in spite of traffic violations?

What Can You Do to Get the Job?

You may worry that traffic violations will impact your ability to get a job. Here are some ways you can improve your chances:

  • Drive safely. Being a cautious driver can prevent you from getting any more violations.
  • Pay any previous fines for traffic violations. Unless you are going to contest the ticket, hurry up and pay any fines associated with your traffic violations.
  • Review the company’s policy on traffic violations. Find out if the company has specific rules for how long ago the violation must be.
  • Be prepared to explain the violation. Assure your potential employer you are now a safe and responsible driver.

Finally, you’re set to face a driving record background check and get the job. Is that all you need to do? What other employment background checks should you worry about?

Don’t Let Traffic Violations Slam the Brakes on Your Job Prospects

Around 7 million people have lost their licenses because of traffic violations. Don’t lose your job prospects, too.

We’ve discovered that traffic violations do show up on driving record checks. We’ve also learned that traffic violations can impact your chances of getting a job and how you can improve your chances. But, your driving record isn’t the only background check you need to worry about. Employers often run several background checks. How can you improve your results for all background checks?

At Trusted Employees, we can help you run a background check on yourself. We’ll explain how you can improve your chances of getting hired and what checks employers are likely to use. Contact us today to learn more.