Currently, at least 70% of freight in the United States is transported by large trucks. Thousands of these massive vehicles are dispatched throughout the United States every day to carry shipments across state lines. It is estimated that there are at least 15.5 million trucks in the U.S., and over 3.5 million truck drivers.
With the rise of the Internet age, more and more people are choosing online shopping as a viable alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar destinations. This means that the demand for shipping and transporting goods will rise, even if the means or methods change. As more drivers are hired, it’s important to ensure that they are being held to high standards for training and safety, so as to keep our roads as safe and accident-free as possible.
This is where the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) can make a significant difference.
The Pre-Employment Screening Program for Truck Drivers
Many people often wonder if commercial truck drivers must go through a pre-employment screening program to check the background of their driving history or if an interview is conducted similar to a stereotypical office-type job interview. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency within the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) is used to assist motor carriers in assessing potential new employees.
The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) authorized the implementation of the Pre-Employment Screening Program in 2005. Titled “Safety performance history screening” in U.S. Code, Title 49, Section 31150, this law requires that the FMCSA maintain electronic records regarding commercial drivers that can be accessed by specific parties to pre-screen potential employees. The program was launched in 2010.
The FMCSA must maintain the following records:
- Commercial vehicle accident reports
- Inspection reports, including those that do and do not contain driver-related safety violations
These records are maintained in the Motor Carrier Management Information System, which shows a commercial driver’s five-year accident history and three-year inspection history.
The following parties have access to Pre-Employment Screening Program records:
- Authorized motor carriers
- Industry service providers
- Validated commercial drivers
While no law regulates or requires an individual commercial motor vehicle company to use this service, this program is designed to help employers make informed hiring decisions, and is utilized by many companies. The program uses information from a driver's crash record and driving history to provide the employer with the tools they need to evaluate the potential risk a new employee may pose to the company.
What Is a Pre-Employment Screening?
Pre-employment screening is essentially a look into a commercial driver's history of accidents and inspection data. Before hiring a commercial driver, a trucking company can see whether that person has had any recent collisions or inspection failures. This is meant to help companies hire better drivers and to keep America's roads safer.
How Can I Get My PSP?
As a driver, you can request a copy of your PSP record from the FMCSA online. It costs $10, and you will be able to gain immediate access to your record once you go through the online process of submitting your information and payment.
What Are the Benefits of Pre-Employment Screening?
According to the FMCSA, companies that use pre-employment screening can lower their crash rates by an average of 8%. They may lower their driver out-of-service rates by about 17%. Pre-employment screening offers an in-depth look at a driver's record, allowing companies to make informed hiring decisions.
How Far Back Does PSP Screening Go?
A PSP report will include a full history of a person's commercial driver's license over the past five years and a history of their roadside inspections for the past three years.
What Information Is Included in a PSP Report?
A PSP report will include the driver's name, date of birth, and driver's license information. It will also include five years of crash data from the Department of Transportation (DOT), which may include everything that is on each individual crash report. Finally, it will include three years of roadside inspection data, which would include the dates and locations of inspections as well as any citations issued for violations found. The information in a PSP report is meant only for pre-employment screening purposes.
Does the Pre-Employment Screening Program Work?
According to the FMCSA, carriers that have used the Pre-Employment Screening Program have experienced an average 8% decrease in traffic accidents and a 17% decrease in driver out-of-service rates. In a 12-month period, PSP use was estimated to have prevented 863 collisions (just in the group of carriers involved in the study). The FMCSA now even offers a mobile version of the PSP.
Companies Must Do Everything in Their Power to Prevent Accidents
In light of the significant dangers associated with the operation of these massive vehicles, we feel it is critically important for commercial motor vehicle companies to take every measure and precaution available to them in order to protect other drivers. Keeping America’s roads safe requires a concerted effort from all those involved in the transportation industry. No trucking company that is not taking steps to test its new hires can truly say they are doing everything in its power to prevent injury and death on the road.
In addition to utilizing programs such as the PSP, truck companies should actively encourage their employees to improve and sustain their skills with renewed training. They should also encourage random drug testing, as well as adherence to regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Drivers should not be encouraged to meet deadlines that would require them to speed or to forge their logbooks in order to stay on the road longer than they are allowed to under the law.
If You Were Hurt in an Accident, Call Us.
While an employer can do everything in his or her power to prevent an irresponsible driver from being hired, truck accidents still can and do occur. If you have been involved in an 18-wheeler accident, immediately contact a truck accident lawyer from the law firm of Arnold & Itkin LLP.
At our firm, we understand that being involved in a truck accident caused by an irresponsible driver, such as a fatigued driver, drunk driver, or an inexperienced driver, can be frustrating and painful, to say the least. The firm has helped dozens of individuals and families recover from serious injuries throughout the country by fighting aggressively to secure financial compensation.
If you have more questions about the pre-employment screening program for commercial drivers or have been injured, we're here to help. Call (888) 493-1629 today to find out what we can do for you.