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Supreme Court Says DOT Can Share Truckers’ Accident History

If you applied for a job that involved driving, you might expect your prospective employer to ask about your accident history. The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear a case challenging the Department of Transportation’s practice of divulging truckers’ accident histories to trucking companies. This means that lower federal court rulings that allow the Department of Transportation to disclose this information are upheld.

Courts Say DOT Can Share Accident History

When trucking companies need to hire new drivers, they understandably want to know if the drivers are experienced and responsible. By getting accident histories in the form of pre-employment reports, they get a better idea of whether a driver will be safe behind the wheel. The reports are part of a larger process called the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP).

According to media reports, the case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court was actually a class action lawsuit brought by a group of truck drivers and backed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

The class action lawsuit claimed that the DOT’s practice of providing carriers with pre-employment reports went beyond the scope of the PSP, damaged drivers’ reputations, and made it difficult for them to find jobs.

The drivers who opposed the accident reports being included in the PSP said that the reports also included information about weight violations, speeding in the 6 to 10 mile per hour range, hours-of-service violations, unlawful parking, and incorrect logs. Their argument was that the reports should only include information about serious accidents and driver-related safety violations.

All Trucker Violations Are Important Info

However, when you consider that serious semi-truck accidents can be caused by things like weight violations and hours-of-service violations, it makes sense that these details should be part of the pre-employment reports carriers receive.

Similarly, a serious semi-truck accident can occur even when a truck is moving at a slow rate of speed. For example, a semi can cause a catastrophic accident if it backs up and strikes a car without warning. If the pre-employment reports left this information out, carriers might never know if a driver had been involved in this type of accident.

Texas Truck Accident Lawyer Discusses Truckers’ Accident History Reports

Texas truck accident lawyer Amy Witherite states: “The Supreme Court’s decision leaves important lower court rulings in place that require the Department of Transportation to disclose critical information about truck drivers’ accident histories. This helps carriers hire skilled drivers with clean driving records and a history of following the important trucking safety rules put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.”

If you’ve been injured in a semi-truck crash, or you have lost someone you love in a truck accident, compassionate and experienced legal help is available today. Let us Keep Life Running while you get back on your feet. Call us right away to discuss your rights and options.