Congress Gives Motor Carriers What They Want

On Nov. 2, Senate bill 2561, the Consumer Reporting Employment Clarification Act of 1998, was signed into law. The law allows potential employers to obtain consumer reports (i.e. employment histories, credit records) from a third party provider for employment purposes without first obtaining the applicant's written permission to do so. Permission may be given orally, in writing, or by electronic means. This exception applies only to those individuals covered by DOT hours-of-service regulations. That means that a motor carrier can access a trucker's DAC report without written proof of consent.

Jim Johnston, president of the Owner- Operator Independent Drivers Association said, "This bill takes away the protection truckers gained when the Fair Credit Reporting Act was amended in 1996. By requiring a trucker's signature before a carrier could get a DAC report, a trucker could control who had access to his personal records. This new bill says an individual may give oral consent to a carrier, but how does a trucker prove that he or she did not give consent or prevent unauthorized access to his/her records?"

For more about S. 2561, see Washington Insider, and Issues and Positions. LL