The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on May 11 a Pre-Employment Screening Program for professional drivers that will provide motor carriers with access to up to five years of driver crash data and three years of inspection data regardless of the state or jurisdiction. The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) was among the first to endorse the new program.
In the past, carriers had no access to driver-applicants’ history of violations at roadside driver and vehicle inspections and DOT reportable crashes. This information, called “safety event data,” is and has been collected electronically by FMCSA from state enforcement agencies, and stored in a database known as the Motor Carrier Management Information System. This lack of access meant that potentially unsafe drivers who repeatedly committed safety compliance violations or traffic law violations and were terminated by their employers could seek work with another carrier without much fear that the prior violations would be discovered or reviewed.
“ATA has advocated for a pre-employment screening program for the past eight years as another tool to help improve safety on our nation’s highways,” said ATA senior vp, Dave Osiecki. “This new program will allow companies to better screen professional drivers they are considering hiring to put behind the wheel.
“In addition to supporting this new program, ATA will encourage FMCSA’s service provider (NIC Technologies) to price this new service in a way that ensures that the data is widely available in the industry,” Osiecki said. “Pre-screening helps to ensure that drivers with poor safety records are not allowed to hide their past actions.”
To participate and submit inquiries, motor carriers must first enroll in the program. Carriers who are already enrolled may begin querying FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System for a $10 fee and with a driver applicant’s written consent.
If a driver believes there are errors in the data, he/she must work through FMCSA to address them. A form is available online.