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4/1/2004
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA influences rules on carrier safety reviews

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration March 30 announced a final rule requiring employers to review candidates’ professional safety records and former employers to make that information available to prospective employers.  

"Carriers must be able to obtain the information they need to hire and place the safest possible drivers behind the wheel," FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said. "Truck and bus drivers are among this country's safest drivers, and we want to do everything possible to keep it that way."

Under the rule, which becomes effective April 29, 2004, prospective employers are required to advise driver applicants they have the right to review, request correction or refute what a previous employer provided in the driver’s safety history. The rule also limits the liability of those required to provide and use driver safety performance information.

OOIDA’s input granted

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association urged FMCSA to include a provision giving drivers the right to review, correct and rebut information related to previous employer reports about driver history.

FMCSA responded: “Any driver must be able to request that prospective motor carrier employers provide information received from previous employers.” Such requests must be made in writing, the agency added.

The proposed rule also required previous employers to go back three years to confirm employment and provide other information about employees such as crash involvement, alcohol and controlled substance violations, rehabilitation efforts, and reversion to illegal alcohol or controlled substances if rehabilitation was unsuccessful.

OOIDA was concerned that such investigations might include information older than three years. So FMCSA adopted a suggestion from OOIDA that the three-year period begin from the date the employment application was accepted.

Complaints about failures to comply with this rule will be investigated by FMCSA. Carriers failing to comply will be cited and may be subject to civil penalties. 

The rule is required under the Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. It applies to all regulated motor carrier employers whose employees apply to work for a motor carrier in interstate commerce.

--by Dick Larsen, senior editor

Dick Larsen can be reached at dick_larsen@landlinemag.com.

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