Is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) from the FMCSA Worth It?

Article Submitted by: Great West Casualty Company

With today’s driver shortages, it is critical for you to employ the best drivers. When hiring drivers, it is important to follow the federal guidelines, which include obtaining a copy of a driver’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) as well as researching his or her employment history for the previous three years. But is this enough?

In early 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gave trucking companies the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), which provides additional information that you can use to hire only the best of the best.

Many companies are familiar with PSP, and use it as an additional hiring tool. However, there are many who still do not know what it is, do not understand it, or simply choose not to utilize it. Some feel that the small fee attached to this program makes it too costly to run or that it is “not worth it”. For most companies the annual fee is $25, plus $10 per record. For fleets of 100 or more power units, the annual fee is slightly higher.

PSP-FMCSA-PhotoSo what is PSP? It is a voluntary program which allows companies to obtain information regarding a driver’s safety performance with regard to roadside inspections and crash involvement. The PSP lists the most recent three years of roadside inspection data, and five years of crash data for a specific driver.

Having this information allows companies to understand what kind of driver they may be hiring. Does the driver operate a commercial motor vehicle safely? Have they been involved in DOT reportable crashes? Does the driver adhere to the federal regulations regarding hours-of-service, or do they continually receive violations when it comes to their log book? These are only a few of the many questions that the PSP can answer.

In October 2013, the FMCSA released the details of a study1 which gauged the effectiveness of the program. That study revealed that for companies utilizing the PSP, there was an average of 8% fewer crashes, as compared to companies not using the program. For carriers between 6 and 20 power units, they experienced a greater than 20% reduction in their crashes! Additionally, those that used the PSP saw an average 17% fewer out of service orders with regard to driver-related (log book) violations. This reduction directly affects a company’s CSA scores in a very positive way with regard to their crash history, hours-of-service, and unsafe driving BASICs.

So, is the PSP “worth it”? If a company wants to hire the best drivers, if they want to reduce their crashes by only hiring the most qualified and safe driver, if they want to lower or maintain their CSA BASIC scores, then the answer is a resounding YES!

  • As the name indicates, this is only to be used for pre-employment screening. It is against federal regulations to obtain this report on existing drivers.
  • Prior to obtaining the report, written authorization must be obtained from the prospective driver. A mandatory consent form is provided on the PSP website.
  • The consent form must be maintained in a company’s records for a minimum of three years, regardless of whether a driver was hired.
  • An audit system is in place to ensure that the above regulations are met.

For more information, please visit the PSP website (www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov). At the top right of the page is a PSP FAQs tab, which will assist you with most questions that you may have. You may also contact your Great West Casualty Company Safety Services Representative for more information.

 

1 Safety Analysis and Industry Impacts of the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, October 2013