In years past, trucking companies pushed drivers to run over the HOS rules and many other violations, showing complete disregard for their safety and health.
Now, with the recent implementation of the CSA, this practice is coming back to bite them. Drivers, loyal to their motor carrier for years, are now being terminated due to a high severity weight score on their pre-employment screening program (PSP).
The most recent email received states:
“I was recently let go by my company because of my csa points. All the points were do to problems with the equipment, which I would report to the company, but was told to “get moving” anyway. Now, after 16 years of driving, I’m out of work.”
As drivers are now discovering, this is a big problem with the CSA. Even though the violations were due to the carrier’s equipment (this falls under the 7 BASICS, specifically the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC), the driver will be found to be in violation, as well as the carrier, raising the motor carrier’s “unsafe” safety score.
There are two measurement systems under the CSA:
- DSMS – Driver Safety Measurement Systems
- CSMS – Carrier Safety Measurement Systems
The two go hand in hand, meaning that points received by a driver, also will go against the carrier. This is the FMCSA’s idea of making both parties, the driver and the motor carrier, equally responsible for safety. As we are seeing already, this is proving to be another injustice to the professional truck driver. Drivers are reporting in that due to their PSP points, their jobs are being lost and other carriers refuse to re-hire.
This email correlates the truck driver PSP with the HireRight DAC report . . . a prediction I made several months before the implementation of this program:
“After six years with my carrier, I was terminated because of my PSP score showing a “little too high” for their “standards.” Forget the fact that they tried to run me in the ground, violating every rule out there, but now, because of them and trying to be a good employee and getting the job done, they fire me because of my PSP record! Applying with other carriers, they all want to pull my PSP first. I know that they can not pull my PSP without my consent, but this is a farce of the FMCSA as well. If I give them my permission, they’ll see the points and most likely, not hire me. If I refuse my consent, what do you think will happen? They won’t hire me either. This PSP is nothing more than another DAC report which will be used to destroy good drivers’ careers.”
Every driver should be aware of the points that can accumulate from violations and effect their PSP score:
How to get a copy of your PSP records
- To purchase a copy of your PSP records
- To file a challenge with DataQ about the accuracy of information on your PSP (Registration Required)
This is the new standard for hiring drivers. As the FMCSA website clearly points out:
“The program helps motor carriers make more informed hiring decisions by providing electronic access to a driver’s crash and inspection history from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).”
Sound a lot like DAC . . . doesn’t it?
The severity weight system can be found on pages 78 through 118 of the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology. Another driver recently advised us that he had stopped for the day and after setting the brakes, the truck began to roll. Marking this brake issue on his post-trip inspection, he was then fired by the carrier. The FMCSA has created another demon for the professional truck driver.
There is no set maximum points that a driver can reach before being deemed unsafe and terminated. This figure is at the sole discretion of the individual motor carrier. Points attained will not show up on the PSP report. The PSP will only show the violations and you must then cross-check them with the points shown on the SMS. There are 3rd party companies such as Vigillo, LLC which provide comprehensive data analytics, providing drivers with a CSA scorecard. Another example of a money-maker business created from the CSA.
Data collected for the two measurement systems basically come from four sources:
- Roadside inspections
- Violations that have already been recorded
- State reported commercial vehicle crash data
- Motor carrier census data
Violations that DOT and law enforcement have ignored in the past, such as driving with a flat tire or having a marker light out, are now being enforced and citations given out. As an example, operating a CMV on a flat tire will add eight points to your PSP . . . having a marker light out will give you two points. If you’re caught texting while driving, you will be hit with ten points, the highest amount given, which by the way, is the same given for reckless driving.
Remember, it’s not only points you’ll receive, but you will still have the fine to pay as well. The CSA has given law enforcement the key to a huge money-making program to help bring in much needed revenue for states.
The number for a “maximum points” level that is being thrown around is sixty, but again, there is no set maximum points that a driver can reach before facing possible termination. The carrier can determine if it’s sixty or six . . . it’s at their discretion. Although motor carriers created the atmosphere which resulted in drivers obtaining violations in the past, they are ignoring this fact and now using the PSP as the reason for the termination of drivers.
Furthermore, the entire CSA issue, I believe, falls right in line with setting the stage for the recent cross border trucking agreement. Before an employer in the U. S. can hire a foreign worker, they must first apply for a Foreign Labor Certification. However, before they can receive the certification, they must first show that there are insufficient qualified U. S. workers available and willing to perform the work at the present wage. This is to ensure that admitting foreign workers will not affect job opportunities, wages and working conditions for the American people, in this case . . . the American trucker.
As the PSP is being used by motor carriers to terminate drivers for violations that the carrier pushed for and allowed to occur in the past, it now gives the trucking industry a reason to allow foreign workers into the United States: there is now a shortage of qualified, American truck drivers. Get it?
As a California law firm establishes the first DAC Report Class Action Registry, attorneys should take notice of the truck driver PSP program. The truck driver PSP is quickly shaping up to be another DAC report to be used by the carriers against the professional truck driver.
© 2011, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.