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Court ruling may impact Mississippi truck drivers

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that disclosing non-serious safety violations to employers is not a violation of driver privacy. The ruling affirms a decision made by a lower court on Oct. 21. In a written statement, the judge in the case said that such disclosures helped the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keep roads safe. Since 2005, trucking companies have had access to limited information from the Motor Carrier Management Information System.

This was meant to allow these companies to quickly assess a driver's safety record before making a hiring decision. A violation is deemed to be serious if it prevents a driver from operating a commercial vehicle until the issue has been corrected. Currently, the Pre-Employment Screening Program provides reports containing the previous five years of a driver's crash data. It also includes safety inspections for the past three years and records of any serious violations.

A potential employee must sign a consent form before an employer could use the PSP to do a screening. In their lawsuit, six truck drivers argued that they were forced to sign such a form if they hoped to find work, but the court found that the drivers had not established this to be true.

Those who are involved in an accident with a truck driver may wish to talk to an attorney about taking legal action. It may be possible to obtain compensation for medical bills, related medical expenses and lost wages. Lost future earnings may also be part of a compensation package determined by a jury or negotiated as part of a settlement outside of court. An attorney may be able to review a case to establish that negligence caused the crash to occur.

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