A recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report shows that motor carriers using the agency’s Pre-Employment Screening Program are seeing a greater decline in crash rates than those who are not using it.

“The overall adjusted improvement in the crash rates for the PSP group, across all size classes, was statistically significant,” said the report.

It also found those using PSP experienced a drop in driver out-of-service violations.

Overall it found crash rates declined 8% for carriers while driver OOS violations fell 17.2% for fleets using PSP, as opposed to those who haven’t

Declines in crash rates were even bigger for carriers who have between 6 and 20 drivers, falling 20.6%, and those with between 21-100 drivers, declining 21.1%.

FMCSA says the 12.4% decline in the crash rates with trucking operations that have 1 and 5 drivers, and a drop of 3.4%, for those with more than 100, are not statistically significant.

Declines in the driver OOS rates for carriers using PSP as opposed to those not using it, ranged between 10.1% for those with 21 to 100 drivers, to as much as 18.3% for those with between 1 and 5 drivers.

FMCSA also compiled some industry information including tracking the extent of PSP use throughout the trucking business with it showing the number of PSP users has steadily increased monthly since PSP began distributing information in May 2010.

The total number of requests to the PSP system is also increasing, most notably the monthly request totals continue to climb.

“All of these metrics indicate that PSP use is increasing throughout the motor carrier industry,” said the FMCSA study. “Currently, there are about 35,000 PSP users making about 70,000 requests per month. These requests come from both drivers and motor carriers, but almost all of these users are motor carrier companies with only a small fraction of requests coming from drivers.”

FMCSA said also gathered non-scientific information from a handful of motor carriers of various sizes utilizing PSP to provide some evidence, even if anecdotal, of how these companies view the PSP. All represented carriers responded favorably when asked about the system, and they reported using it for new hires.

“Most carriers use the PSP report to ensure that drivers accurately report information on their applications and do not omit places of employment or crashes,” said FMCSA “Violations in the PSP report for pre-trip inspections, logbooks, and speeding were high on the list of concerns and were generally believed to be a better indication of a driver’s safety performance rather than violations that the driver had little direct influence to avoid.

FMCSA established the Pre-Employment Screening Program to comply with a law requiring the agency to provide information on driver safety performance to persons conducting pre-employment screening for the motor carrier industry. The system has around 3.5 million driver records, which varies slightly from month-to-month as the record data is refreshed.

PSP was launched in May, 2010, and is a voluntary program. Motor carriers may use the information provided through the PSP, comprised of 5 years of crash data and 3 years of inspection data on the driver, to assist in determining if a driver applicant should be hired.

The PSP safety impact analysis studied carriers at a snapshot in time, 12 months before PSP launched and 12 months after, so the study covers carriers from 2009 through 2011.

97% of the companies using PSP are trucking companies and 2% are bus companies.  The remaining 1% represents 3rd party industry service providers, who provide driver screening services for bus and truck companies, according to FMCSA.

About the author
Evan Lockridge

Evan Lockridge

Former Business Contributing Editor

Trucking journalist since 1990, in the news business since early ‘80s.

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