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The PSP Report and Why You Should Be Using It



 What is a PSP Report?

The Pre-employment Screening Portal (PSP) report is a pre-screening tool that allows carriers access to a commercial driver’s safety records prior to hiring. The report includes 5 years of crash data and 3 years of roadside inspection data from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) database.

Example PSP

Why Should I Be Using a PSP Report?

First and foremost, the FMCSA states that companies using PSP reports for pre-hire screening lower their crash rates by 8%, and their driver out-of-service rates by 17% (compared to those who do not use PSP reports). And speaking personally, I would never actually hire a driver without a PSP report.

The three things I look for when hiring a driver are these: his 10-year work history; his Motor Vehicle Record (MVR); and his PSP report. Why? Well, first off, the first two are required. But with the PSP report, you can compare and verify all that information! Secondly, many companies believe that everything they need to know is on the MVR, which is just not the case.

 

What Can Happen If I Don’t Use a PSP Report?

You won’t be getting in trouble with the DOT for not having a PSP report on your driver, but not having the report could lead to trouble. Let’s consider the lesson we learned from an ACTUAL driver we had in our office.

Example 1 (without a PSP): John Smith went to a client’s office, and handed in his application. John said that he had worked for two companies in the last 10 years. His MVR was clean, and he also claimed he hadn’t had any moving violations in the last three years! (Wow! He’s looking pretty good so far, right?!) Our client was ready to rock and roll with him. And why wouldn’t they? He looked great on paper. They sent him for a drug test, spent time training him, paid for an updated medical card, and then POOF! He quit before he was even set up in payroll! Our client wasted time and money drug testing, getting a medical card, training, ordering uniforms, etc.

Example 2 (with a PSP): John Smith went to a client’s office, and handed in his application. John said that he had worked for two companies in the last 10 years. His MVR was clean, and he also claimed he hadn’t had any moving violations in the last three years! (Wow! He’s looking pretty good so far, right?!) Then they ran his PSP, and the print-out was SIX pages long!! It showed that John had 15 roadside inspections in the last three years with serious infractions…with eight DIFFERENT COMPANIES. And as if that wasn’t enough, he had two CMV ACCIDENTS (that were not on his MVR) with two different companies as well! He (obviously) failed to mention these accidents on his application.

Why wouldn’t John put all of his previous employers down on his 10-year history? Maybe he’s lazy, or maybe he didn’t want you to call all of his previous employers and find out what really went on there? (Maybe he flunked a drug test, maybe he had serious safety issues, maybe he did something really stupid that he hopes you won’t find out?) Would you have hired John after seeing his PSP report? This single report could change your entire perspective on a potential employee. Obviously not all reports will open up a can of worms like John Smith’s, but wouldn’t you rather spend $10 to make sure you’re hiring the most safe, honest driver?

How Do I Get a PSP Report?

There are three ways to get a driver’s PSP record:

  1. Through the FMCSA’s PSP system
    There is a $100 sign-up fee, then it’s $10 per report after that.
  2. Through a DOT Privacy Act request. This is free, but it’s a huge hassle, there is a long wait, and the driver must request it.
    PSP Release Form

    (Instructions for the driver: include your name, address and telephone number and specify you are looking for FMCSA Pre-Employment Screening Program data that is linked to your CDL, and include the number and licensing state.)

    Send the written request via:

    1. fax: (202) 385-2335
    2. email: foia@fmcsa.dot.gov
    3. snail mail: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Information Management, MC-RIS, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. 20590.
  3. Call our office and have us set up an account on your behalf. We upcharge this service a bit, but–if you’d like–we can also include the MVR, Previous Employer Checks, and give you a custom Risk Rating Score Sheet on each and every applicant so you know you are hiring the best driver, every time.

We have A LOT of hiring experience (and DOT experience generally), and we’ve made plenty of mistakes so you don’t have to! To learn more about all things DOT, check out one of our DOT compliance seminars. See you there!

Tyna Bryan

Tyna Bryan

Founder and primary consultant for DOT Readiness Group. She's been deeply involved in the compliance side of multiple FMCSA regulated companies; as well as consulting and training on D.O.T. compliance and regulations for twenty years.
Tyna Bryan