The FMCSA recently launched its Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). The PSP offers access to up to five years of driver crash data and three years of roadside inspection data from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). By using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, carriers will be able to better assess the potential safety risks of prospective driver-employees.
While the PSP is a voluntary program for carriers, it will likely become standard practice. Not only will plaintiff’s attorneys quickly begin attacking carriers who do not use the program with claims of not performing due diligence before placing drivers on the road, but eventually the public and insurance underwriters will also be looking at the data. Therefore it is highly recommended that all carriers consider using the PSP as part of the hiring process. Whether you already use the PSP or are contemplating its use, it is important that you be aware of some of the legal requirements of the program.
First, the employer must receive the applicant’s written consent prior to making a request for information to PSP and inform the applicant in writing that information obtained from the PSP will be used in the hiring screening process. The written consent along with information obtained through PSP must be kept by the carrier for three years for its potential use in random audits.
Second, the employer may only use the information obtained from PSP for pre-employment screening of drivers. As such, carriers may not obtain PSP reports on current employees. Further, the PSP information may only be seen and used by company employees that are involved in the hiring process. The information may not be disclosed to other company employees or those outside the company.
Third, information obtained through PSP is subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under the FCRA, if an employer uses any PSP information in its decision to not extend employment to an applicant, it must provide the applicant with a complete and full copy of the information obtained from the PSP prior to taking any adverse action on the application for employment.
Fourth, the employer must inform the applicant that they have a right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information through the FMCSA DataQs system. The employer must also inform the application that they may obtain information about the FCRA at www.ftc.gov/credit.
It is highly recommended that all carriers begin using the PSP as a tool during their hiring process. However, each carrier will need to determine and adopt its own standard for using the PSP information in the pre-employment screening process and then apply that standard uniformly to all driver applicants. Carriers must also be aware of and abide by the legal requirements of the program including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).