Several drivers came to us this past month in search of a helping hand—and their common request was a simple one: How do I get my hands on my driver CSA score?
They told us they searched online for “CSA score,” but when the login screen requested their US DOT# and PIN, they were left scratching their heads. As company drivers, how could they take a peek at the information their employers had easy access to?
Their frustration was totally understandable.
See, what they were really looking for were their Pre-Employment Screening Program reports—or PSPs.
Unfortunately, across the trucking industry, PSP reports are often referred to as “driver CSA scores,” so it’s only natural that, when they jumped online, they ended up in the wrong place.
Well, we’d like to clear things up.
CSA score vs. PSP report: What’s the difference?
The FMCSA generates a CSA score for all motor carrier entities, including O/Os.
Using the Safety Management System (SMS) to capture roadside inspection results, safety violations and crashes for all drivers and vehicles across the entire fleet, the system then compares one carrier’s BASICs data to others of similar size to come up with a percentile ranking. The “CSA Score.”
The higher that score, the more likely the FMCSA believes you’ll be involved in an accident—and the more likely you’ll be inspected in the future.
A PSP Report, on the other hand, captures data relating to a single company driver—you.
That report will reflect MCMIS crash data going back five years and MCMIS roadside inspection data going back three years.
(However, infractions issued by state law enforcement won’t be included in the PSP reporting. For that information, you’ll need to make a direct request through your state’s DMV.)
So, why is reviewing your PSP report important?
How carriers are using PSP reports
More and more, carriers are turning to the PSP report as a regular part of their hiring review process. In fact, this article from Overdrive reports that 81% of carriers review your PSP at some point during your application and interview process.
It’s an increasingly important part of their due diligence.
They understand that any new hire’s safety and compliance performance has the potential to negatively impact their CSA score. And, as shippers and 3PLs are now being found liable for the accidents caused by the carriers they hire, they’re taking a much closer look at those carrier’s safety histories. That means a poor CSA score could cost a carrier the contract.
In addition, carriers are using PSP reports to weed out problem drivers from their talent pool.
That means, if your PSP report is inaccurate, you could be denied a honey of a job or the one you already have could be in jeopardy.
How to check your PSP report
The good news? It’s a simple process, really.
All you have to do is login to the FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program system.
Once there, you’ll need to provide your current driver’s license number (and any license numbers you’ve held in the previous five years, if you’ve moved), a credit card (sigh, a $10 charge applies), and an email address.
Enter the information and you’ll have the PSP report in your hands.
(On a side note, you can get your hands on this information for free by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the FMCSA, but be prepared to wait several weeks.)
Hopefully, you’ve downloaded your report and everything checks out.
In case the information isn’t accurate, though, you may be able to contest it.
What can you contest, and how?
If you think your PSP report is inaccurate, here’s what you can do—and what you can’t.
If your report identifies a violation that’s documented on an inspection report, and it’s inaccurate, you can request a data review through the FMCSA’s DataQs site. Of course, the more documentation you have to support your case, the better. (We talk a little bit about that process in this post.)
You should also be aware that, if a state court determines that you’re not in violation, your record will not be automatically cleared. Again, you’ll have to submit a request through DataQs.
Unfortunately, not everything reflected on your PSP report can be challenged.
If you’ve been cited during an inspection or traffic stop, that’s off limits. And crashes that must be reported to the FMCSA may also not be reviewed—even if it was determined that you weren’t at fault.
Check your PSP report, and check often
Like your personal credit report, your PSP report has the potential to do some serious career damage if it’s wrong.
So, we encourage you to check periodically.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.