Complimentary advertisement… and: PSP unlikely to be the new DAC

user-gravatar Headshot

HowardgekkoDriver with a lens-load of cool
It’s been a few months since we checked in with on-road crooner Howard Salmon, so he checked in with us, sending along this picture he happened upon recently, with a pre-emptive answer to the obvious question.

Yes indeedy, he wrote, “I am also sending this to Geico Insurance.”

He caught the gekko, he says, chewing on a piece of some bread he’d been eating while he leafed through a phone book looking for an address. “I opened up to the Geico Insurance page fast as I could,” Salmon says, giving the gekko a little encouragement to get into the right position — “perfect timing, too, you know.”

He’s recently finished footage for two more videos, with a third well under way, too, accompanying songs on his “These Trucks Are Made of Gold” record. “I’ll have a  DVD out for the drivers soon enough,” he says, hopefully by the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Read about Salmon’s past music-video exploits.

Editor on one hot seat
Thanks to Allen and Donna Smith of Ask the Trucker and Truth About Trucking Live for having me on their online radio show Wednesday evening. The show’s available in their archives, and if you make it to the end, you’ll hear my response to a sort of “hot-seat” question from the hosts, wrapping a long discussion of driver concerns that, well, the FMCSA Pre-employment Screening Program will be fraught all the same kind of bad information and retaliatory marking-up that so many have seen with the employer-to-employer pre-hire service commonly known as DAC.

“Based on your research and investigation,” Smith asked, “what’s your gut feeling tell you? Will this cost a lot of drivers jobs?”

My response was that, while I realize there’s a certain amount of hope that I no doubt bring to the question — i.e. I certainly hope the PSP works in favor of drivers, as many carrier personnel and others are thinking it well may, in light of CSA 2010 — rationally, attempting to remove that hope and thinking about it objectively, I don’t think that the PSP is fraught with the same characteristics, in the end, that lead to DAC’s problems, and won’t be as big of a negative issue.

Here’s why: The employment histories known as DAC Reports have been a problem because of the interpersonal nature of employer-employee relationships, as I see it. The horror stories typically stem often from vendetta-type situations, where a driver is cast in a negative light they view as unwarranted because of a personal relationship gone awry at the carrier.

While relationships with DOT inspectors and other law enforcement personnel (the people making the judgments that will show up on drivers’ PSPs) can no doubt go similarly awry, the contact, by virtue of being less frequent, less interpersonal and more in the way of routine operation (with the exception of rare crash events), is more likely to result in, if not perfect, at least better information.

The jury is out on how responsive FMCSA and state partners will be to driver challenges in the DataQs system, where information on PSP reports can be contested, another area where the comparison to DAC may be apt, given horror stories about the contesting process there. Carriers of any larger size often have full-time personnel devoted to contesting safety information via DataQs, and keeping on top of the ensuing back-and-forth for a full-time driver might be difficult. Likewise providing the documentation — it’s advisable to keep docs of all your inspections, including clean ones. The latter show up on your PSP report, too, and as a Dart safety manager notes in my Overdrive story, those clean inspections could in the future represent driver bargaining power for pay.

Read more about the Pre-Employment Screening Program in Overdrive‘s current issue.

Listen to the archived Truth About Trucking radio show on the PSP.