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OOIDA Sues FMCSA for Complete Disregard for Judicial Rulings

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Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and Congressman Duncan Hunter of California’s 52nd District have expressed strong concerns in regards to the accuracy and justice of CSA/SMS scores. Congressman Hunter wrote the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and OOIDA has filed a law suit regarding FMCSA’s complete disregard for the accuracy of their scoring process known as DataQ.

Under the current system, driver safety records maintained by the FMCSA, which directly affects a driver’s ability to find employment, continue to include citations dismissed in court. The CSA/SMS scores lack assurance of data accuracy and completely lack any process for dispute resolution.

OOIDA’s suit addresses the FMCSA’s failure to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and with the Privacy Act as well as the agency’s handling of inaccurate data and a dispute resolution process. In three cases recent drivers were cited for violations during routine inspections and challenged the citation in court. Even after the legal system absolved the driver of guilt, not only had the FMCSA already posted the citation on the DataQ system, but they denied the request to remove the charges.

The law firm handling the suit, The Cullen Law Firm, stated, “FMCSA’s policy of refusing to delete inspection reports from a driver’s record after he is found not guilty in any violation by a court is profoundly disturbing.” According to the article, Bad data: OOIDA sues FMCSA over driver data, DataQs, multiple drivers with legal documentation dismissing their case were simply denied with no other option, stating, “We are not changing this. The court system is independent of the inspection process and this [inspection] was done properly.”

Congressman Hunter, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is an advocate for change in the FMCSA practices and has publicly denounced the program saying, “This system is unfair and harmful to operators, and it hurts their marketability.  And, overall, what’s needed is a system that is accurate and reliable, not one that continues to misrepresent operator safety records.”

In order to restore truth and accuracy to FMCSA reporting, Cullen is asking the court to order FMCSA to update their system and discontinue use of information with no judicial determination of guilt and acknowledge legal documents of innocence and dismissal of charges. The FMCSA is currently promoting false, inaccurate, incomplete and grossly misleading inspection reports that are costing drivers their jobs. The issue remains a topic of debate among in congress and concerned transportation industry leaders.