PennDOT uses CDL data for driver recruitment

| 8/8/2007

The Pennsylvania DOT is looking for quite a few good men and women to fill part-time winter jobs as snow plow drivers.

But the way the department is trying to recruit them is drawing criticism.

PennDOT sent out about 100,000 letters to CDL holders, using names, addresses and driving histories from its own CDL computer database to generate the mailing list.

State Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-York, told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that the practice is an invasion of truckers' privacy because the drivers didn't expect their CDL information to put them on a mailing list.

And, Gillespie said, the practice gives PennDOT an unfair advantage over private employers who don't have access to the database.

"They have this database, and I'm sure they could put a query in to say, 'OK, I want only drivers with 20 years of experience, no traffic violations and no accident history,' and you would really get the cream of the crop," Gillespie said.

Gillespie sent a letter to PennDOT asking them to stop the practice. But PennDOT spokesman Luke Webber said there's nothing unfair about what the department is doing.

"Obviously, the No. 1 concern for PennDOT is the safety of our state roads," Webber said. "This recruiting effort and the jobs that it advertises is all part of the effort that these roads are safe, and that they're cleared in the event of winter storms."

In February, a massive snow and ice storm stranded thousands of cars and trucks on two Pennsylvania interstates and prompted harsh criticism of PennDOT.

Gillespie said that while he doesn't approve of PennDOT's use of the CDL information, he believes the department is trying hard to avoid a repeat of that kind of situation.

– By Reed Black, staff writer