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Posted by: David Garcia December 22, 2022

For hiring managers and recruiters, the pre-screening process is just as critical to company success as hiring and onboarding. 

Lack of pre-screening increases the risk of a bad hire, which can be costly. 

When hiring candidates that will be driving as part of their jobs, it’s imperative to check their driving records before extending a job offer. 

Motor carriers run pre-screening checks on potential new hires to ensure that they have a safe driving history. The two most popular screening reports are a pre-employment screening program (PSP) and a motor vehicle report (MVR).

However, when screening for candidates, many motor carriers don’t understand the differences between a PSP and an MVR. 

Both tools provide employers insight into their candidate’s driving profile. 

We’ll break down the differences between the two in this article. 

What is a PSP?

The Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) is a program created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that helps carriers to make better hiring decisions. 

PSP provides electronic access to a commercial driver’s three-year inspection and five-year crash history directly from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). These PSP records can be obtained by employers conducting pre-employment screening to hire qualified commercial drivers. 

PSP reports allow carriers to evaluate a driver’s safety habits. It also identifies the candidate’s past employers to compare that information against their application for accuracy. 

These records can only be requested when conducting pre-employment background checks. Written consent from the applicant is required before the carrier can perform the check. 

PSP reports help you to hire safe drivers. Companies that use PSP to pre-screen their hires reduce out-of-service driver rates by 17% and crash rates by 8%. 

What Information Is Included in a PSP Report?

PSP reports are comprehensive documents that provide in-depth information that usually wouldn’t be disclosed in the employment application. The PSP report includes the following: 

  • Driver’s personal information such as name, date of birth, driver’s license number, and state of issuance. 
  • Five years of Department of Transportation (DOT) reportable crash data – This contains a summary of each accident, such as the crash report number, date, location, state, U.S. DOT number, and the carrier name the driver was operating under. It also includes a statistical summary of all accidents on file. It breaks down the total number of crashes with fatalities, tows, and injuries. 
  • Three years of roadside inspection data – This includes the report number, reporting state, U.S DOT number, carrier name, number of violations cited, and level of inspection. Like the five-year crash data, the report provides an overview of the driver’s roadside inspection violations. You’ll find a description of the breach, the regulation violated, the number of times the driver has violated a regulation, and the number of times it has caused an out-of-service order. 

What is MVR?

A Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) shows a person’s driving history from a particular state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

Employers must request a pre-hire MVR in states where a CDL license was held within the last three years and annually in their employee’s review process. 

The MVR is designed to help employers determine whether the driver meets their requirements. 

What Information Is Included in an MVR?

When requesting a driver’s MVR, the following information is typically included: 

  • Driver’s license information (driver name, date of birth, driver’s license number, address, height, and weight) 
  • License status (active, suspended, or revoked).
  • Accidents that the driver has experienced (and in some states, it indicates who was at fault).
  • Violations
  • FCRA compliance assistance 
  • Automatic renewal notices
  • Online tracking and reporting 
  • Applicant order entry 
  • Moving violations/convictions like speeding 
  • Consolidated invoicing 
  • Automated MVRs 
  • Endorsements or restrictions on a driver’s CDL (endorsement: class A, HAZMAT; restriction: hearing aids or glasses) 

What Are the Key Differences Between a PSP and an MVR?

A PSP is an excellent indicator to predict a driver’s behavior since it shows every roadside inspection and any accidents in that they have been involved in recent history. 

An MVR lets you see the driver’s history regarding citations, suspension, and disqualifications.

Here are the specific differences between a PSP and an MVR: 

  • An MVR contains what a driver has been convicted of by their state court. 
  • Tickets, warnings, and citations yet to be settled in state courts won’t appear on an MVR. 
  • PSP reports show violations collected at the crash or roadside inspection, which are sent to the MCMIS.
  • Violations from a collision or roadside inspection won’t appear on an MVR. However, convictions that result from a violation will appear on an MVR. 
  • A PSP report and MVR don’t always match since a state court can reduce tickets, warnings, and citations. 
  • PSP records and MVR records use two different sources for their data. The FMCSA is responsible for maintaining the PSP report using MCMIS so the data is up-to-date and country-wide. State agencies manage MVRs and update them periodically depending on the state’s process. 
  • Motor carriers can receive PSP records for candidates by enrolling in a PSP service. MVRs can be obtained by getting in touch with the motor division in the license-issuing state. 

Why Motor Carriers Should Obtain Both MVRs and PSP Reports

Motor carriers should obtain both MVRs and PSP reports since they provide a complete picture of a candidate’s driving history. Sometimes, MVRs won’t show incidents unless the state court has convicted the driver. 

PSPs provide a more in-depth look and show violations at the point of roadside inspection. With five years of accidents, three years of roadside inspections, and out-of-service violations, you’re receiving a variety of data to help you indicate the potential risks of a candidate. 

However, a PSP report may not include tickets, warnings, and citations. PSP reports also don’t include personal driving and local or state infractions, while MVRs do. Getting a full overview of their driving history in their personal and professional settings lets you know whether they’re a safe or high-risk driver. 

Running an MVR and PSP report helps motor carriers determine whether a potential new hire has a history of unsafe driving activity. Since they’re both derived from different sources, it’s helpful to receive two separate data points to ensure you don’t miss anything. 

Ultimately, both reports service to screen out potential hires that may cause violations and hurt their CSA score. Hiring a driver with a poor safety record can be a significant liability and even put your company at risk. Conducting thorough MVR and PSP reports can help put recruiters’ and HR professionals’ minds at ease by helping to ensure they’re making an informed hiring choice.

ScoutLogic can help you with all your driver screening and background check needs. Thanks to our dedicated Scout service model, you can rest assured that all your candidates are thoroughly vetted in a timely fashion.

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