Trucking News Online

OOIDA Files Another Suit Against Feds Over Safety Records

May 28, 2013 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: News, Safety

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed another complaint with against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding safety records and the appeal process.

OOIDA filed the suit with the U.S District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of a member who received a citation for failing to stop at a weigh station while traveling through Montana. The driver said he missed the stop, but immediately turned around and went back, and the ticket was later dismissed without prejudice by Montana courts and removed from his motor vehicle record.

However the violation still remains on records kept by FMCSA, which are made available to the public. The association is seeking to prevent FMCSA from reporting that the truck driver violated the law and asking that the information be purged from his records.

The data stored in the FMCSA’s safety records database is also used by the agency’s Pre-Employment Screening Program and the Compliance Safety Accountability enforcement program (CSA). However, when a DataQ challenge is submitted by a driver to FMCSA, it is routed back to the state where the inspection report with the alleged violations originated. OOIDA believes this is the federal agency’s way of delegating the responsibility of keeping complete and correct data to the states.

The original suit — which is still pending — alleges the agency fails to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, with the Privacy Act, and with mandates governing agency action contained in aprevious highway bill. OOIDA claims FMCSA releases records of alleged safety violations to potential employers before those drivers have had their day in court and that it doesn’t delete references to the violations even after drivers have been exonerated in court.