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July 17, 2012 8:00 AM, EDT
OOIDA Sues FMCSA Over Driver Database

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said Monday it has filed suit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding FMCSA’s pre-employment screening program and appeal process.

The suit — filed in the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia — alleges that FMCSA releases records of alleged safety violations to potential employers before drivers have had their day in court and that it refuses to delete references to such violations even after drivers have been exonerated in court.

The data stored in the safety records database is also utilized by the FMCSA’s Compliance Safety Accountability enforcement program, known as CSA.

“By refusing to accept the determination by a court, the FMCSA has in essence made state law enforcement agencies the final judge and jury on all citations,” said OOIDA President Jim Johnston, “This can ultimately threaten business opportunities and income.”

An FMCSA spokeswoman said the agency is aware of the lawsuit filed and that the matter action is currently under agency review.

 

Three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit were cited for alleged violations during the course of routine inspections. All three drivers challenged the citations in court and were either acquitted of the violations or had their cases dismissed, OOIDA said.

The suit alleges the agency fails to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with the Privacy Act, and with mandates governing agency action contained in the previous highway bill, SAFETEA-LU.

American Trucking Associations and the trucking industry have been concerned about the CSA program’s crash accountability standards.