by Donna Ryun
During the past few weeks, I've received several questions about DAC. While many professional truckers are familiar with this information service, some are taken by surprise, mostly when they've been denied an employment opportunity due to information contained within a DAC report.
First, let me explain that DAC is a service that provides access to driving records, employment histories, credit reports, auto and work comp claims histories, and other information to be used for pre-employment screening and/or insurance underwriting purposes. In other words, they keep tabs on you and report the information they gather to prospective carriers, employers, and insurance companies.
OOIDA member Tony C. writes: "I'd like a copy of my DAC report and am wondering how to go about it. Can you please give me the information I need in order to obtain it?"
Tony, it's a smart move on your part to find out what is contained within your DAC report on a regular basis. It's just good business to make sure that there are no errors or misinformation about you on the report, particularly since you could possibly be denied employment based on inaccurate data.
DAC complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which means that you have a right to know what information is contained in your file. If you are denied employment due to adverse information in your file, you can obtain a free copy of your DAC report. Simply call their consumer department and request it. DAC's telephone number is 800-381-0645. You can reach them during regular office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST) on Monday through Friday. You will be required to provide them with some personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, social security number, CDL number, and license state. You should receive the report in about 10 days.
If you haven't been denied employment, but just want a copy of your report, you'll have to send a written request, and there's usually a small fee involved. Again, it is a good idea to check your report even if you haven't had any problems. Doing so will allow you the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies or dispute incorrect information before it has a negative impact on you.
Speaking of incorrect information, this brings up another question from an OOIDA member who says: "I lost out on a job opportunity when a former carrier reported an incident to DAC that never occurred. I suspected that they might pull a stunt like this since I resigned on unfriendly terms with the dispatcher. Now what? Is there anything that I can do to make this right? I don't want my chances for future employment ruined because of lies on my report."
OOIDA has often criticized DAC for failing to provide a check and balance system in order to guarantee that the information gathered for their reports is accurate. A situation (such as the one described above) in which there are hard feelings between two parties can easily put a driver in the position of having to defend him or herself for actions that never occurred. Because the reporting carrier is required by contract (and by law) to tell the truth, DAC does not verify the information that is supplied to them unless a formal complaint is made.
If you believe that inaccurate information is in your file, you should immediately submit a written rebuttal. Once DAC receives your rebuttal, they will contact the party that supplied the negative information and attempt to verify any disputed statements. If the company cannot confirm that the information they contributed is correct, it is removed from your file.
The bad news is that if the company sticks to their original story, DAC will likely refuse your request to remove the reputation-damaging contents and the information will remain on your record. However, they will include your formal rebuttal so that you have the opportunity to give your account of any incidents that may or may not have occurred.
If you feel that this system lacks certain consumer protections, get in line. A few years ago, OOIDA fought to veto the Consumer Reporting Employment Clarification Act of 1998 because of the negative impact it could have on truckers. Because the bill was signed into law, motor carriers can now obtain a copy of your employment history and credit report from DAC with just your verbal permission. All a less-than-honest carrier would need is a few personal facts about you implying that they obtained your verbal permission, and the report is theirs for the asking. Now it's up to you to periodically monitor your DAC report in order to ensure its accuracy.