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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-16-010
Synopsis: On June 25, 2015, about 7:10 p.m., a 2007 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 2005 Great Dane semitrailer, operated by Cool Runnings Express, Inc., was traveling northbound in the center lane of Interstate 75, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, when the driver did not respond to the slow-moving traffic ahead and collided with the rear of a 2010 Toyota Prius. Traffic had slowed near milepost 11.7 because of road construction and a work zone lane closure at milepost 12. The truck-tractor continued forward and collided with seven additional vehicles, forcing them into subsequent collisions. Of the 18 vehicle occupants, six died and four were injured. A postcrash fire consumed one vehicle. The truck driver’s trip began earlier that day, about 5:16 a.m., in Haines City, Florida. His destination was the carrier terminal in London, Kentucky.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Evaluate motor carrier use of, and perspectives on, your Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), and identify and address barriers affecting the use of the PSP, examining issues such as the value, accuracy, and timeliness of the information, and the cost of, and incentives for, using the program.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Chattanooga, TN, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY15MH009
Accident Reports: ​Preliminary Report, Highway Accident Report HWY15MH009Multivehicle Work Zone Crash on Interstate 75
Report #: HAR-16-01
Accident Date: 6/25/2015
Issue Date: 11/2/2016
Date Closed: 6/3/2019
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FMCSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 6/3/2019
Response: We are pleased that you completed the recommended PSP evaluation and we appreciate the extensive data you provided. We note that, despite some motor carrier concerns over issues such as cost and privacy, your user data analysis shows an expanding usage rate and acceptance, indicating that motor carriers are aware of and use the system. We are encouraged by your successful efforts to improve and promote the PSP. These actions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation H 16 10, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: NTSB
Date: 5/6/2019
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), “Qualification of Drivers, Employment Application,” published at 84 Federal Register 46, March 8, 2019. The FMCSA is requesting public comment on the value of, and need for, the requirement to have prospective drivers complete an employment application. The agency is also seeking comment on ways this requirement could be changed to reduce the associated paperwork burdens for drivers and motor carriers, including—but not limited to—the complete elimination of the requirement. For the reasons given below, the NTSB encourages the FMCSA to retain the requirement for an application for employment, including the 10 years of employment history. The NTSB has long supported complete and proper background investigations as one of the essential building blocks of a strong safety culture by motor carriers. The application and processes required by 49 CFR 391.21 are a critical step in determining the safety performance and background of applicants. A multivehicle crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the most recent NTSB investigation addressing the safe hiring of commercial drivers.6 In this 2015 investigation, the NTSB highlighted the inadequacy of driver license records and background checks. The commonwealth of Kentucky—the home base for the motor carrier—is one of only two US jurisdictions that do not provide crash data in their 3-year driver license records. Consequently, the carrier did not have crash data for the truck driver, limiting its ability to assess his safety performance and potential risk prior to a hiring action. As a result of this investigation, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendations H-16-9, -10, and -11 to the FMCSA, as specified below: requirements described in 49 CFR 391.25(b)(2); that is, to specify that the motor carrier must (1) consider the driver’s crash record; (2) consider any evidence that the driver has violated laws governing the operation of motor vehicles; and (3) give great weight to violations—such as speeding, reckless driving, and operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs—that indicate the driver has exhibited a disregard for public safety. (H-16-9) Evaluate motor carrier use of, and perspectives on, your Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), and identify and address barriers affecting the use of the PSP, examining issues such as the value, accuracy, and timeliness of the information, and the cost of, and incentives for, using the program. (H-16-10) Collect and publish best practices for pre-employment investigations and inquiries within the trucking industry. (H-16-11) Safety Recommendation H-16-9 is classified “Closed—Unacceptable Action,” because the FMCSA indicated that it had reconsidered its earlier intention (in 2017) to add this action to the rulemaking agenda due to its determination of the infeasibility of enforcement and limited safety benefit. Safety Recommendations H-16-10 and -11 are classified “Open—Acceptable Response.” Collectively, these NTSB recommendations emphasize the criticality of reviewing and verifying driver applicant 10-year employment history and driving records to identify individual risk factors during the hiring process.

Date: 1/18/2019
Response: -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 Status Update: • 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. o Cost 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 ( 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.

From: NTSB
Date: 4/20/2017
Response: We note that you have informally queried several motor carriers to determine how they use and view the PSP, and that your anecdotal results were favorable. We are encouraged to learn of your plans to more formally evaluate the PSP and collect industry best practices for pre-employment investigations and inquiries. Pending your implementation of the recommended evaluation findings and your publication of the industry guidance, Safety Recommendations H-16-10 and -11 are classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 2/2/2017
Response: -From Daphne Y. Jefferson, Deputy Administrator: FMCSA established the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) in May 2010 to comply with Federal legislation-requiring the Agency to provide information about driver safety performance to persons conducting pre-employment screening for the motor carrier industry. Motor carriers can use the information provided through the PSP, which is comprised of 5 years of crash data and 3 years of inspection data about a driver, to assist in determining if the driver applicant should be hired. Since FMCSA launched PSP, the number of PSP users has steadily increased monthly. Through October 2016, FMCSA enrolled over 15,000 companies (including both motor carriers and industry service providers) that account for nearly 60,000 PSP users. Employers have evaluated PSP data 4.8 million times during the hiring process. In 2013, FMCSA published the results of a study describing PSP's impact on safety and commerce. The results showed that companies regularly using PSP have, on average, reduced their crash rates by 8 percent and avoided 863 crashes. The study also showed those companies reduced their driver out-of-service rates by 17 percent, preventing almost 3,600 drivers from being placed out-of-service at the roadside. Additionally, FMCSA informally queried a number of motor carriers that use PSP to determine how they viewed the system. All responded favorably when asked about the system, and reported using it to make hiring decisions. Carriers used the PSP report to ensure that drivers accurately reported information on their applications and did not omit places of employment or crashes. Motor carriers also responded that they used PSP to determine if drivers had worked for companies with poor safety ratings in the past. Input from motor carriers generally indicated that using PSP helped them hire the best drivers available and improve their overall safety performance. These same motor carriers also noted that drivers with good safety records were in much higher demand and that they potentially could command better compensation and benefits. FMCSA is planning to conduct a program evaluation of PSP in 2017. This study will evaluate motor carrier use of and perspectives on the program while identifying and addressing barriers affecting the use of the program. It will examine issues such as the value, accuracy and timeliness of the information used in the program, as well as the cost of and incentives for using the program. The study will also collect and publish best practices for pre-employment investigations and inquiries within the trucking industry. FMCSA requests the NTSB classify safety recommendations H-16-010 and H-16-011 as "Open-Acceptable Response."