Supreme Court denies hearing on trucker case

The refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a class-action case presented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association allows a lower court ruling to stand. At issue was the extent of driver violations shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the Pre-Employment Screening Program. With the lawsuit's claims of privacy violation dismissed, truck drivers in California can expect any infractions, including minor ones, to be available to truck companies screening potential employees.

A group of truck drivers with the support of the OOIDA had insisted that the FMCSA "intentionally and willfully" exceeded the scope of their mission in disclosing violations about individual truckers that could impact their ability to find work. They argued that the pre-employment screening reports should only contain information about serious safety violations instead of issues such as weight violations, speeding of only 10 mph or less over the limit, failing to adhere to hours rules and inaccurate logs. They based their lawsuit on the 1974 Privacy Act.

After the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of government regulators, the group sought another chance from the Supreme Court. The high court, however, denied the petition and left the decision of the appeals court intact.

Violations of trucking regulations sometimes play a role in personal injury claims after truck accidents. Issues such as driver fatigue or trucking company negligence could enable an accident victim to recover damages. Someone who needs to recoup medical expenses and lost income could ask a lawyer to organize evidence, negotiate with an insurance company or present a case at trial.

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