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OOIDA members challenge FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program

The lawsuit states that the reports sent out by FMCSA harm the plaintiffs’ earning potential and the ability to the get hired in truck driving jobs.

The Trucker News Services

7/23/2014

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo.  — Six members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have filed a class-action suit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under the Federal Privacy Act charging that the agency is unlawfully disseminating reports of driver safety records to potential employers. 

According to the complaint filed in federal court in Boston, FMCSA is only allowed to report “serious driver-related violations” under its Pre-Employment Screening Program but the agency is releasing reports that go far beyond its statutory authority.  A PSP record includes a commercial vehicle driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history with FMCSA’s Management Information System.

The plaintiff truck drivers allege that FMCSA is acting willfully to disparage the safety records of individual drivers and each seeks statutory damages of $1,000.  The six plaintiffs will also ask the federal court in Boston to certify a class and award statutory damages to all drivers for whom such reports have been prepared.

According to the complaint, the Secretary of the Department of Transportation is required by statute to determine which violations of federal safety standards constitute a “serious driver-related violation.”  The plaintiffs charge that most of the violations shown on their individual PSP reports have never been identified by the Secretary as “serious driver-related violations,” thus making their disclosure unauthorized.

Jim Johnston, President of OOIDA, praised the lawsuit stating that “FMCSA’s actions in implementing the PSP program demonstrate their deliberate ineptness and disregard for clear statutory limitations.”

The lawsuit states that the reports sent out by FMCSA harm the plaintiffs’ earning potential and the ability to the get hired in truck driving jobs.

“The economic value of services provided by Plaintiff Drivers, and other similarly situated, as commercial motor vehicle operators has been diminished by the actions of FMCSA in unlawfully disseminating driver inspection records not authorized for dissemination under the PSP,” stated the suit. “Plaintiff Drivers and other similarly situated have been adversely affected and have sustained actual damages within the meaning of the Privacy Act.”

OOIDA asks that other truck drivers who feel that they have been harmed by FMCSA’s PSP program contact OOIDA and provide details of their experience by sending information to psp@ooida.com.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the only national trade association exclusively representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area. The Association currently has more than 151,000 members from all 50 states and Canada.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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