- Henry Seaton
Legal challenge to PSP dies at Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by a group of truck drivers who had challenged the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) on the grounds that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lacked the legal authority to release information about violations that are not serious. Federal law explicitly calls on FMCSA to release to carriers information about drivers' serious violations. Although widely used by carriers, the PSP is voluntary for carriers. However, carriers are free to make a driver's release of data under PSP a condition of employment.
The drivers had contended that because the legislation did not mention non-serious violations, the type of routine release allowed subject to driver consent was not allowed. The Department of Transportation had countered that in the absence of a clear prohibition by Congress it had broad authority to release such data provided that drivers consented to the release. The drivers argued that a driver release was not truly voluntary because without it, they would be barred from applying for many jobs.
Lower courts had sided with DOT, so the Supreme Court's action represents a final victory for the department's position.