-From Michael Jordan, Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: On August 8, 2018, and December 4, 2018, representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met to discuss the status of 13 safety recommendations. This memorandum communicates the status updates discussed at those meetings.
Source: Highway Accident Report (NTSB/HAR-16/01); Chattanooga, Tennessee (2015-06-25)
Current Classification: Open - Acceptable Response
Requested Classification: Closed
• An October 2013 FMCSA study compared the crash and out-of-service rates 12 months before and after using PSP for 5,476 carriers that actively used PSP. The study showed that PSP has a demonstrated positive effect on the Nation’s road safety, with motor carriers using the program experiencing a 17% decrease in crashes and 8% drop in out-of-service inspections, on average, compared to companies that do not use PSP. Since the program’s inception, FMCSA and its partner contractor, NIC Federal, LLC, have collaborated to promote PSP and educate the motor carrier industry about the safety benefits of the program to encourage enrollment.
• In response to NTSB’s findings in the Chattanooga, TN crash investigation (NTSB/HAR-16/01), FMCSA carried out a limited scope program evaluation to gain insight into the current state of PSP and examine any perceived barriers to entry.
• PSP enrollment has increased steadily each year, and as of October 2018, over 20,000 companies have enrolled in the program:
Motor Carrier Enrollees Year 2010: 3,499 enrollees, year 2011: 6,112 enrollees, year 2012: 8,067 enrollees, year 2013: 9,812 enrollees, year 2014: 11,752 enrollees, year 2015: 13,554 enrollees, year 2016: 15,365 enrollees, year 2017: 17,891 enrollees, year 2018: 20,411 enrollees.
• During the evaluation period, it was noted that 2.8% of motor carriers were enrolled in PSP by 2016, or nearly three times the 2013 estimate used in the NTSB report. Adjustments to remove companies with only one power unit (likely owner-operators not hiring additional drivers), and to account for motor carriers requesting records through third-party screening providers suggested that up to 39.5% of motor carriers were accessing PSP during the hiring process.
• By October 2018, 4% of all motor carriers were enrolled in the PSP program. When considering the factors identified above, participation estimates equal as many as 41% of all motor carriers that hire drivers.
PSP Carriers as a Percentage of the Active Industry
Row A: Description: 2012 PSP carriers as a percentage of 2012 MCMIS total active interstate and Hazmat intrastate carriers Number of Active Carriers: 529,103 Number of Carriers Enrolled in PSP: 5,476 Percentage: 1%
Row B: Description: 2018 PSP carriers as a percentage of 2018 MCMIS total active interstate and Hazmat intrastate carriers (as of October 2018) Number of Active Carriers: 543,061, Number of Carriers enrolled in PSP: 20,411 Percentage: 4%
Row C: Description: Row B data less all one power unit companies Number of Active Carriers: 290,026 Number of Carriers Enrolled in PSP: 18,571 Percentage: 6%
Row C1: Row C adjusted for 50,000 companies using PSP through a third-party screening provider (estimates range as high as 137,000) Number of Active Carriers: 290,026 Number of Carriers enrolled in PSP: 68,571 Percentage 24%
Row C2: Row C adjusted for 137,000 companies using PSP through a third-party screening provider (estimates range as high as 137,000) Number of Active Carriers: 290,026 Number of Carriers enrolled in PSP: 155,571 Percentage 54%
• PSP record request rates have grown steadily each year from 2011-2017. (Note: updated information on PSP record requests included for 2017 and January – October 2018.)
PSP Record Requests
Year 2011: 587,507 Year 2012: 728,725 Year 2013: 834,632 Year 2014: 938,858, Year 2015: 1,111,026 Year 2016: 1,210,034 Year 2017: 1,293,291 Year 2018: 1,204,117
• FMCSA’s limited scope program evaluation identified several perceived barriers to PSP. A summary of the perceived barriers to using PSP have been identified and FMCSA’s actions to address each barrier are provided below:
o Concern Over Fair Credit Reporting Act
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., was enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies. The Act protects consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their credit reports.
PSP customers are required to comply with FCRA’s requirements. To comply with the FCRA, employers using PSP to screen job applicants must:
• Get written consent from the applicant before obtaining applicant information;
• Disclose to the applicant that they intend to use the report for employment purposes;
• Provide oral, written, or electronic notification to the applicant if the employer decides not to hire the applicant and notice that the adverse action was based in whole or in part on a consumer report and other information about the report;
• Not misuse driver information; and,
• Give the applicant an opportunity to dispute the information in their report before making an adverse final decision.
If an applicant’s rights under the FCRA are violated, in cases of willful noncompliance with the statute, the applicant could sue to recover: 1) Actual damages; (2) Attorney's fees; (3) Court costs; and, (4) Punitive damages.
In 2015, FMCSA responded to industry concern about the driver disclosure and authorization audit penalties, which, in extreme instances, could lead to a motor carrier’s or an industry service provider’s suspension or termination from PSP.
The Agency addressed this concern by creating an administrative process through which a company facing termination may appeal for reinstatement.
During the evaluation process, three industry stakeholders, each of whom already use PSP in their hiring process, suggested that the cost of PSP might discourage some motor carriers from enrolling in the program.
PSP’s fees have remained the same since the program’s launch in 2010: account holders pay $10 per record and an annual fee of $25 or $100 depending on the motor carrier’s size. FMCSA believes that the price is reasonable and motor carrier behavior does not suggest that cost is a barrier to PSP program adoption.
In both 2017 and 2018, the PSP enrollment rate increased to the highest level since the program’s inaugural year (2010.)
Nearly half (49%) of PSP record requests are submitted via industry service providers (ISPs.) ISPs regularly charge motor carriers more than the $10 fee fora PSP record.
PSP’s fees have remained unchanged since 2010, without any adjustments for inflation. If the PSP fees were adjusted for inflation, a PSP record would cost $11.57 today (https://data.bls.gov/cgibin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=10.00&year1=201005&year2=201809).
These factors indicate that price is not a barrier to program adoption.
o Lack of Awareness/Value
As evidenced by the continuing growth of PSP usage throughout the motor carrier industry, FMCSA has addressed this barrier to PSP adoption.
As a result of the NTSB recommendation, PSP-related marketing efforts were intensified. A team was assembled to develop a marketing strategy. The strategy entailed:
• Expanded participation in industry events;
• Development of a webinar series:
• Collateral and marketing material refresh; and,
• A campaign that included articles in industry publications, a targeted email campaign, and multi-media components.
Execution of the campaign culminated in PSP registration rates that were 37% higher in the 3rd Quarter of 2018 as compared to the 3rd Quarter of 2017.
o PSP Complicates the Hiring Practice
The limited scope program evaluation summarized several concerns from stakeholders regarding the use of PSP. Some believed that the commercial drivers 5-year crash and 3-year inspection histories contained in the PSP report may conflict with information obtained from a State’s Motor Vehicle Record and/or performance accounts made by the driver, consequently obligating the carrier to conduct further investigation into the candidate’s background.
One stakeholder indicated that some carriers don’t understand PSP’s value beyond the required background checks, thus relegating PSP to the ranks of an unnecessary expense and hindrance to efficient hiring.
Motor carriers have often asked the agency to provide a definitive standard, based on PSP data, to be applied in hiring decisions.
It is not within the limits of the statute, nor the agency’s authority, to interpret the PSP record for the motor carrier.
• FMCSA requests NTSB close safety recommendation H-16-010.