PSP – Pre-Employment Screening Program

Here is a sobering number. The US trucking industry spends over $9 billion a year on safety. This goes from implementing new technology to hiring and training drivers.

When we had our trucking company the top tool that we used to evaluate a driver’s safety habits was the PSP report or Pre-employment Screening Program.

What a carrier needs to understand is there is compliance and there is safety.

As part of compliance, a carrier is required to do a complete driver file including DOT-compliant application, running an MVR, doing a background check and more. You can request a copy of a driver file and instructions HERE.

Complete Compliance

Are You Compliant & Safe?

So If you complete a driver file as you a required to and maintain it, you are compliant. But being compliant doesn’t mean you hired a safe driver.

Safety would require that you set minimum requirements for a driver, you review the application to see if they meet those requirements and that you investigate the information that they give you for accuracy. As you use the information to make determinations about a driver’s fitness to driver for your company, now we are talking about safety.

I am very proud to say that while we owned F2F we had a great safety record. While there is never a single thing that a carrier can do to be a safe carrier there are keys to building a foundation of safety.

One of the best tools that we used when evaluating if we thought a driver was going to be safe or not was the PSP report. I would run a PSP to qualify a driver BEFORE we ran an MVR. I wanted to see how a driver performed during roadside inspections.

An MVR will not tell me that a driver was inspected 10-times in 3-years and only had one violation. Or, that he got violations on the easy to spot things like bad tires, cracked windshield, missing mudflaps.

The PSP will tell you the last 5-years of reportable crashes and 3-years of roadside inspections.

A study conducted by the FMCSA on carriers that used the PSP report lowered their crash rate by 8% and their out-of-service rate by 17%. Another FMCSA statistic is that about 40% of carriers use PSP when they are hiring.

Thinking About Starting a Trucking Company?

Starting a trucking company with Lauren Hood of VLocity Group.

All these numbers are pretty easy to come by since they see who is using the system and can tie that directly to safety records.  I personally think the data is higher when you look at companies that actually use the PSP report to make decisions and it is not just a checkbox so they can show they are doing it.

I know that seems silly but I have seen first-hand companies that will run the reports and have people making hiring decisions that have no idea what they are looking at.  Or those that have an arbitrary point system. Someone can have a couple of significant maintenance issues over a 3-year period and fall under the points and get hired. While someone had a single bad inspection 2-months ago and a dozen clean inspections who has too many points to be hired.


This real example is a company that is all about compliance and doesn’t understand safety.


There needs to be a common-sense balance.


For those of you that have never seen a PSP report, you can look at the sample report provided by the FMCSA HERE.

Good data is always going to be a challenge for any carrier when hiring drivers. That is the area that the PSP can help in. If you see a driver who had a roadside inspection 2-years ago for a carrier that is not listed on their application that should bring up immediate concerns.

First, you want to make sure that the driver corrects their application and has a conversation with them about why they didn’t put the carrier on the application. Not all ommissions like this have nefarious reasons. I have trouble remember what I had for lunch yesterday let alone the dates and carriers that I drove for.

Regardless of what the driver says, this should be a carrier that you make sure you get the pre-employment screening back BEFORE you bring the driver on.

The number of drivers that have failed a drug test, wait a couple of weeks then go an apply someplace else is estimated to be over 300,000. The Drug and Alcohol Clearing House <link> (see blog here) is going to take a lot of the risk of hiring an unqualified driver (this is one of the deadly sins). Not to mention take a lot of drivers off the roads.

So by checking with the carrier before hiring the driver, you can show that you are doing all that you can to make sure that you are hiring safe and qualified drivers.

At VLocity Group we look to help carriers that are looking to grow not only to make sure they are compliant (checking off all the boxes) but also help in creating strategies so that they are building a culture of safety.

We have found it very interesting that when companies are serious about safety and driver operating compliant, they see lower turnover and have an easier time recruiting drivers. These are just some of the added benefits in addition to getting preferred insurance rates.

If you have questions about how to hire with safety in mind you can schedule a call at the following link. Schedule Call

More information can be found at FMCSA PSP.