As part of the CSA 2010 initiative, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was mandated by Congress to provide motor carriers access to driver information contained in their Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) so that it can be used when background screening new applicants.
This new program is called the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). As motor carriers have begun to incorporate the PSP into their current background screening programs, many are making decisions as to when during the hiring process the PSP should—and can—be ordered.
A common question that many truckload carriers have is: When exactly during the screening process can the PSP report be ordered? Before discussing the answer to this question, it might be helpful to have some background on the report, its benefits, and how some trucking companies would like to incorporate the report into current screening practices.
What is the PSP?
The PSP is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing an individual operator’s crash and serious safety violation history as a pre-employment condition.
The PSP report will contain the most recent five years of crash data (DOT-recordable accidents) and three years of roadside inspection data from the MCMIS database.
Motor carriers are not mandated to use the PSP reports as part of the screening process, so it is a voluntary program at this point. However, the report will provide very useful data regarding the driver’s qualifications, which will ultimately affect a carrier’s overall safety score.
HireRight recommends that motor carriers continue to conduct thorough driver screening and incorporate the PSP report into the existing background screening program to gain visibility into a driver’s history and safety performance.
A Typical Driver Background Screening Process
Truckload carriers typically recruit the majority of their drivers remotely. These drivers either submit applications electronically or provide information via the phone.
Due to the competition for good drivers, the motor carrier wants the driver to commit to attending an orientation class as early in the process as possible. It’s quite common for the motor carrier to request a set of instant background reports such as MVR Express, CDLIS, and HireRight’s Employment & Drug/Alcohol History Databases and then make the applicant a conditional job offer based on the results of those reports.
The driver then attends an orientation class where additional background screening takes place. During this final screening phase, the following products are typically ordered: criminal records, drug testing, physicals and manual employment verification for past employers not found during the database search. The conditional offer will be rescinded if the driver does not meet company standards during this screening phase. The last screening phase is a logical choice for ordering the PSP report, but organizations are being told that they can’t at that point because they have already made a job offer.
When is it permissible to order the PSP Report?
On behalf of our customers, HireRight posed the following question to the FMCSA:
Is it the FMCSA’s position that the PSP report cannot be ordered after a conditional job offer has been made?
The FMCSA’s response is as follows: If the driver is given a “conditional” job offer, the carrier can request a PSP record as long as:
• The driver understands that the offer will be rescinded if they do not meet company standards; and
• The driver provides the carrier with a “written consent.”
As another option, the driver could actually purchase his or her own record and take it to the orientation.
(Response provided by Arlene D. Thompson, Department of Transportation–FMCSA, IT Operations Division)