The Pre- Employment Screening Program (also known as PSP) allows service providers, carriers, and individual drivers access to commercial drivers’ safety records from Motor Carrier Management Information System (of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
Records can be obtained at any time, on the PSP website – asides from the periodic maintenance that the site might go through, the PSP service will be available non-stop.
The PSP was developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make safety performance information available electronically, as mandated by Congress as a part of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act.
FMCSA considers that making this type of driver data available to the potential employers as well as operator-applicants will result in the improvement in the quality of safety data, and will help employers make an informed decision when it comes to hiring commercial drivers. The PSP is able to offer more rapid access to safety performance information, as opposed to what was previously available under FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) or Privacy Act requests.
The PSP is designed only for the conducting pre-employment screening, meaning that non-motor carrier entities will not be able to access this information. For other individuals or groups to access it, they will have to make a Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The content of the Pre-Employment Screening Program
Your Pre-Employment Screening Program includes your most recent five years of crash data as well as the last three years of roadside inspection data. Motor Carrier Management Information System is a federal government database and is used to provide data to the PSP, uploading it to the system about once every month.
For every crash or inspection, the PSP record will show the motor carrier for whom you were operating at the time, the date and location when they occurred, and in case of crashes, the record also features safety details (such as injuries or fatalities). Also, there are also details about inspections, such as whether or not a vehicle was out of service, but overall the record does not feature a score.
How to obtain your PSP Record
In order to get the PSP record, you will have to go through the dedicated website, at https://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov, and you will need to provide a valid email address, a credit card, and your driver’s license number. To have a full history, you will also have to enter each license number you held for the past five years. Also, your computer must be able to view PDF documents.
The record will cost you $10, the fee including the search on your driver’s license record and on any commercial driver’s license you held in the last five years. After you go through the process, you will be able to see your record on-screen, or you can see it as a PDF file – in addition, you can print it or save it to have it permanently.
If you’re looking to get this information for free, you can submit a Privacy Act Request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
What if you have wrong information?
In case you want to challenge the safety information provided in the record, in case you feel that it’s incorrect or incomplete, you can use DataQs at https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.
After you submitted the challenge, the platform will forward it to the most suitable office to reach a resolution, and it will also allow you to monitor the status of your challenge. Once the information is corrected, the change will take place in the MCMIS database, and the PSP system will receive the move once the data from MCMIS is refreshed.
While the Pre-Employment Screening Program is a voluntary program for both drivers and carriers, it has been proven that the service has safety benefits for motor carriers.
A study examined crash rates as well as driver-related out-of-service rates for the motor carriers using PSP. Safety performance of carriers of similar size was compared for 12 months before and 12 months after they start using PSP. To obtain the inspection, carrier size, and crash information are necessary, the vendor list of motor carriers that participated in PSP was merged with the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System files.
Both the non-PSP and the PSP group saw a reduction in crashes between the two periods that were observed, a statistic which aligns with the recent decrease in total CMV crashes during this period. Moreover, both groups saw a decline in total driver OOS inspections. However, when it comes to crash rates, the results show that the PSP group saw a statistically significantly greater improvement compared to the non-PSP group in 2 driver size classes (2 and 3) as well as for the overall population. Size classes 1 and four did not show statistically significant differences – size class 4 did not see enough change in crash rates since they are rare events, however, for both size classes, crash rates trend towards decreasing.
Requesting a Driver Information Resource record
Motor carriers have the possibility of requesting a DIR (Driver Information Resource) record for the simple purpose of conducting pre-employment screening and only if the operator-applicant has given written consent. Motor carriers have to keep all written consent forms for five years. Operator-applicants or individual drivers can purchase their DIR record at any time.
The Operator-Applicant will be informed when the data gets released.
Operator-applicants have to provide written consent, as required by Congress, for the data to get released. However, the operator-applicant won’t get a separate notice from the NIC (National Information Consortium Technologies) that the information has been released. FMCSA performs routine audits on the NIC to make sure that they abide by Federal laws and regulations as well as the contract terms. Moreover, motor carriers are also subject to audits by FMCSA and NIC to make sure that the operator-applicant written consent has been obtained and that those records are kept.
Companies and the Pre-Employment Screening Program
Companies can enroll in the program by either signing up online or completing the paperwork and returning it to NIC Federal. Enrollment takes up to 2 weeks until NIC Technologies will finish it. Afterward, an email will be sent from NIC Technologies, providing the necessary instructions for accessing user credentials.
The enrollment package will include documentation about all legal obligations incurred by using the service. Written consent will be required to make sure that records are only used for pre-employment screening, that motor carriers will abide by regulations, and that written consent has been obtained from all applicants whose records were purchased.
Motor carriers will pay through ACH (automated clearing house) debit, and PSP will deduct the invoice amount from the savings or checking account that was provided by the motor carrier. This process is also commonly known as e-check. Motor carriers will get a notification every month, being able to view their invoice and their monthly statement before the ACH debit initiation.
The subscription fee can cover the cost of customer service and monthly billing. Customer service will be available via email and phone, from Monday through Friday. The motor carrier will get PSP credentials for up to 10 individual users using a single subscription.
Types of data NOT included.
The record only features MCMIS information and not information such as traffic tickets. The MCMIS crash and inspection information is uploaded by FMCSA Federal staff as well as State Partners.
Driver safety records included in the PSP record are mandated by statute (49 U.S.C. 31150), meaning that drivers will not be able to refuse consent when it comes to crash and inspection data being included in the PSP.
Conclusion – Key Features
The PSP helps carriers make an informed hiring decision, reduces risk and liability for drivers of company vehicles, and helps protect safe driving records or CSA scores. Also, there is no special payment arrangement needed via the federal contractor (NIC).
The Pre-Employment Screening Program can provide instant results from MCMIS, offer crash data from the past five years and roadside inspection data from the past three years, and up to 5 licenses of the same driver can be ordered within the same request without having to pay additional fees. While the program is optional, motor carriers might be interested in the service because data contained in the PSP report cannot be found in any other source that might be used for screening purposes.