Court says two drivers could seek damages for inaccuracies in PSP reports that prevented them getting hired
Six years ago, five truck drivers challenged the effectiveness of the U.S. DOT’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) reports. Until recently, they have been mostly dismissed by a federal court.
But last month, two drivers involved in the suit could be awarded damages for inaccurate information contained with their PSP report.
A carrier can choose to use PSP for hiring purposes by submitting a signed consent form and receiving a report outlining DOT violation data collected over the past 3 years for that driver.
It is recommended that every driver verify the accuracy of their PSP report data at least twice per year. Inaccuracies should be challenged through the DOT DataQ process to keep a driver’s record clean.
The drivers were challenging the inaccuracies within drivers’ PSP reports, which carriers can access to make hiring decisions. The drivers argued their PSP reports contained false information that could have been damaging to their job prospects.
All of these drivers faced citations or criminal charges, which they fought in court and won. However, violations were still listed in their PSP reports.
The drivers argued that this violated their rights to due process and could make it more difficult for them to find jobs.
Many of these claims about inaccuracies were dismissed by the D.C. Court of Appeals on January 12. However, two of the drivers could have “standing to seek damages,” according to the judges, because PSP reports for the two drivers had been pulled by carriers. The ruling was sent back to a lower court to determine what those damages will be.
At the time the lawsuit was filed, it was protocol for FMCSA to leave violations in place on PSP reports even if citations had been dismissed in court. FMCSA argued it had no system in place for states to remove such citations from drivers’ records after they’d been issued.
Two years after OOIDA and the drivers filed the suit, however, FMCSA took measures to fix the issue, directing states to remove violations or charges that had been dismissed. The court factored this move into its decision. “Any risk of future disclosure of inaccurate information has been virtually eliminated,” the judges wrote.
The other three drivers could not prove they were harmed by the inaccurate information in their reports, or even that the reports had been used by carriers or other third parties.
“Inspection data remains available for only three years after the relevant inspection and all of their disputed violations occurred more than three years ago,” the judges added. “[OOIDA] has offered no evidence that any other member faces a risk of dissemination.”
Interested in getting a PSP Report pulled for hiring purposes or to check for inaccuracies? Learn more here.