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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How to Effectively Use PSP in Your Fleet

What is PSP?
In 2010 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP).  
 PSP is available online at http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/Pages/default.aspx. 
 Through PSP, enrolled account holders have the ability to search for drivers’ safety histories from the federal Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) database. A PSP record includes a driver’s: 
  1. Five year crash history
  2. Three year roadside inspection history
  3. Violations noted during roadside inspections
  4. The name of the motor carrier for whom the driver was operating for at the time of an inspection or crash
PSP is the only service that provides a driver’s complete FMCSA history. The PSP record allows you to get a clear snapshot of a driver’s past behaviors and habits - important predictors of a driver’s future performance. 
The driver’s PSP record may only be accessed during the hiring process.  Once a driver is employed, the employer may not request that driver’s PSP record for any reason.  To protect a driver’s privacy, a driver must provide their consent using FMCSA’s PSP consent form before the PSP record is accessed.
FMCSA takes drivers’ privacy seriously.  With that in mind, FMCSA has implemented PSP audits.  On a regular basis, PSP account holders are randomly selected for a PSP audit.  The audit entails providing driver consent forms that are requested at random.  The consent form demonstrates that the driver has permitted a company to request their PSP record once.  Review the driver consent compliance suggestions to learn more and adopt the established best practices.
Who may use PSP?
Inter- and intrastate motor carriers may use PSP to review a potential driver’s safety history.  Drivers may also access their own PSP record at any time. 
In early October, FMCSA announced an expansion to the PSP program.  Now, any company that is directly involved in the hiring of commercial drivers may access PSP records.  This includes driver screening companies and similar entities working on behalf of a driver or a carrier to access PSP records (with the driver’s consent).
How is PSP data collected?
Enforcement officials collect data during roadside inspections and crashes. This data is added to the FMCSA MCMIS database. The information is different than the driver’s state motor vehicle record because PSP includes violations and other details about the crash or inspection - not just state convictions.  PSP offers motor carriers a more comprehensive picture of a potential employee’s past performance and work history.
On a monthly basis, the PSP database is populated with the latest MCMIS snapshot.  The data snapshot includes the most recent data updates for drivers’ crash and inspection histories. 
Why use PSP?
Thousands of motor carriers are using PSP to ensure they are only hiring the safest drivers.  Motor carriers use PSP for a variety of reasons.  Some motor carriers use the PSP data to develop a personalized training plan for each driver that addresses the areas that demand extra attention.  A personalized training approach ensures that a driver’s time is well spent and keeps training costs to an effective minimum.  Carriers also check the PSP report to see what carrier the driver was operating for at the time of a crash or inspection.  Prospective employers can cross reference the carrier names that appear on the PSP report with the list of previous employers supplied by the driver.
The PSP report is different than a state motor vehicle record.  Using the reports together shows a clear picture of a driver’s activities.  For more details review the PSP and MVR comparison.
How do I use PSP?
PSP is entirely web-based, available 24 hours a day, and returns drivers’ PSP records instantly.
First, a company must enroll in the program to receive PSP access credentials. To start,  download the enrollment packet. The enrollment process typically takes two to three business days.  Once enrolled, simply search for a driver’s record by entering the driver’s name, date of birth, license number(s) and license state(s). PSP records are returned instantly in PDF format, and can be saved or printed for the driver’s qualification file.  In addition to the web site, the PSP application is available via iTunes for the iPhone and iPad.  The PSP app is free and makes it easier to review drivers’ histories on the go. 
There is a fee to use PSP.  Most PSP account holders pay an annual subscription fee of $100.  Smaller carriers, with fewer than 100 power units, qualify for a discounted subscription fee of $25. Each PSP record transaction costs $10. A single monthly invoice is provided to carriers for convenience. 
Information on enrollment and questions about the PSP service can be found on the PSP FAQ page.  The customer support team is ready to answer questions. Simply email PSPhelp@egov.comor call toll-free  1-877-642-9499 between 8 AM and 6 PM ET, Monday - Friday.  You can access PSP updates by subscribing to the PSP Twitter feed by following @PSP_help.
It’s important that motor carriers know what information to expect in the PSP record, how to evaluate that information, and that the carrier must obtain the driver’s consent before requesting his or her PSP record.
Creating and maintaining a safe and productive fleet starts before a driver is hired.  We can help you navigate PSP, including understanding how the PSP record can best fit into your individual hiring practices.

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