Exposed

Todd Dills | October 01, 2010

“In some cases where our members wanted help, we found bad data,” he says, such as “inspections attached to them that were not theirs. Data quality with FMCSA has always been an issue. That is a big reason why people should be looking at the data.”

PSP information falls into two main areas: crashes and inspection.

Crash activity information on a PSP report is based on a driver’s most recent five years on the road. The crash “details” section does not include if the accident could have been prevented or details about who was at fault. The issue of how no-fault crashes affect driver and carrier scores in the Crash Indicator BASIC in CSA 2010 is still of concern to the industry. Though FMCSA has insisted that any crash, regardless of fault, should be considered as an indicator of a carrier’s likelihood to be involved in a crash, generally, they are well aware of the industry’s concern and are reviewing potential changes.

David Lewis, leased to Prime, was involved in a crash in June when a pickup crossed the center line of a two-lane highway and totaled his truck, killing the pickup’s driver. “I couldn’t get over any more to miss him and he hit me head-on,” says Lewis, who’s based in Indiana.

Don Lacy, Prime’s safety director, says this incident and a separate not-at-fault fatality accident involving another driver pushed both drivers’ CSA 2010 Crash Indicator scores to the maximum in software Prime uses to manage its safety scores.

“I get the same amount of points as if it was my fault,” says Lewis. He is wary of future insurance implications for individual owner-operators, should the driver system FMCSA uses ever become public or insurance companies demand driver-score approximations from fleets as policy contingencies. “Once you get that high score, I can see insurance companies not wanting to insure the driver.”

PSP reports’ inspection information section is based on drivers’ DOT contact over three years and, like all information on the PSP, is updated monthly. All violation codes are available at this FMCSA web page: mcmiscatalog.fmcsa.dot.gov/d_ins_CD.asp.

Most seem self-explanatory except for the “Local Laws (General)” violation description, which Pemmerl describes as a catch-all for local laws that don’t have a correlating violation in MCMIS coding. They can vary widely, she says. For instance, violations related to container and chassis registration have shown up on driver PSP reports with the notation.


“We’re not getting those calls of people saying, ‘How do you do this?’ That’s a huge mistake.”

— OOIDA’s Joe Rajkovacz on the dearth of owner-operators checking out their PSP reports.


Any unspecified violation for which a driver could argue the question of responsibility, such as maintenance items a company driver could not possibly uncover on a pretrip, or that is clearly in error, can be challenged. OOIDA has seen an owner-operator’s PSP show an inspection in California, though he had never been in the state, says Norita Taylor of OOIDA. She says OOIDA can assist its members in challenging such errors. n


How to request your PSP record

• Gather driver’s license numbers from every state you’ve lived in during the past five years. You’ll need to perform searches on each CDL number.

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