Illinois Trucking Association Urges Fix to Biometric Law
[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]
The Illinois Trucking Association is among a business coalition whose leaders are calling on state lawmakers to change an outdated biometric state statute leading to frivolous lawsuits and safety concerns.
In the 15 years since the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) took effect, more than 1,500 frivolous lawsuits have been filed by class-action lawyers against businesses (including trucking companies, manufacturers, retailers, hospitals, nursing homes, entertainment venues and hotels) claiming employee or consumer rights’ violations without harm done to people and identify theft, noted a March 2 coalition statement.
“BIPA is hurting our industry, and it is making our roads less safe” because many trucking companies are removing in-cab cameras due to involvement in or fear of a BIPA lawsuit, ITA Executive Director Matt Hart said. “Likewise, trucking companies that were considering these cameras to improve their safety have now decided against installing these cameras in Illinois because they fear being sued in this state.”
Hart told Transport Topics that BIPA is impacting all trucking companies in Illinois no matter the size.
“In our industry, one of the best tools that trucking companies have for training professional drivers is cameras that are located inside the cab of a truck. These cameras provide valuable video data that is used to teach drivers to be alert, to avoid distraction and to improve their skills,” he said.
Hart encourages Illinois truckers to contact their state lawmakers in the House and Senate to urge them to fix BIPA during the present session of the Illinois General Assembly, which ends May 19. He added that “no other state in the country has BIPA laws like this,” and the Illinois law is hurting trucking companies and other businesses.
He joined with other coalition members March 2 to publicize the need for change in BIPA, created when biometrics was less advanced than today’s modern technologies.
Hart called on both the state Legislature and Gov. J.B. Pritzker “to fix BIPA and make the changes needed to ensure trucking companies can confidently invest in safety on our highways.”
Other coalition members are the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Health Care Association, Illinois Health and Hospital Association, Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and TechNet.
“Illinois’ current BIPA law is outdated and flawed, resulting in thousands of lawsuits and billions of dollars in damages, even when there has been no harm to an individual. It’s time for lawmakers to put an end to this rampant abuse of the law and enact common-sense reforms that protect businesses while preserving privacy rights,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.
Ways lawmakers can remedy BIPA include:
- Updating the law to require proof that actual harm occurred to individuals before imposing fines.
- Establishing a “notice and cure” time period allowing businesses to address any potential issues in cases in which no actual harm occurred.
- Authorizing the state Attorney General to provide companies with advisory opinions on whether their compliance efforts meet legal requirements.
- Imposing a one-year statute of limitations.
- Clarifying an ambiguous recent state Supreme Court decision that found every incident is a separate violation, resulting in exponentially higher awards.
Host Seth Clevenger chats with Evan Shelley, co-founder and CEO of TruckParkingClub. Hear the program above and at RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
“We encourage lawmakers to reform BIPA in a way that helps our state’s businesses grow while ensuring consumers have access to the latest innovations, platforms and services,” said Tyler Diers, executive director of Illinois and the Midwest Region for TechNet.
“The way we live, work and communicate has been transformed by innovation,” he added, “yet the law has remained the same. We need a modern law that reflects what’s needed today and tomorrow, not yesterday.”
The coalition maintains businesses should be able to use biometric identifiers in such ways as for routine human resources and record-keeping (timeclocks), security (managing access to controlled substances, preventing organized retail theft) and accessing sensitive facilities (electric plants and oil refineries).
Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: