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Trucking Safety Experts:
FMCSA Denied Motion to
Dismiss CSA Score Lawsuits

The OOIDA Wins This Round.

Trucking Regulations Expert Witness / Truck Driver Safety Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requested a dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) which is based in Grain Valley, Missouri. This dismissal has been denied.

FMCSA CSA Logo - Truck Driver Qualifications ExpertTruck Driver Qualification Expert Witness

At issue is the motor carrier rankings and scores which are known as the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. The scores are generated by the FMCSA, and posted on their website

Specifically, the OOIDA’s suit centers on FMCSA’s use of violations against drivers and carriers after citations have been dismissed. While the FMCSA has changed its policies and procedures to remove dismissed violations from the carrier’s and driver’s records, the OOIDA is pursuing the suit to keep such violations from the public eye until they can be contested in court.

The OOIDA suit was filed on behalf of an OOIDA member who was cited for failing to stop at a weigh station while traveling through Montana. Realizing his mistake, he immediately turned around and went back. The ticket was later dismissed without prejudice by Montana courts. While the ticket was removed from his motor vehicle record, it remained on record with the FMCSA. OOIDA is seeking to prevent FMCSA from reporting the violation and has asked that the information be purged from the FMCSA records. In addition, OOIDA alleges that FMCSA releases records of alleged safety violations to potential employers before drivers have had their day in court.

The FMCSA does have a process which allows drivers to have violations removed. However, it is up to the driver to do so by submitting a Request for Data Review (RDR) through FMCSA’s DataQs system. The driver must provide copies of certified court documents along with the request. The request and submitted documentation will be reviewed for the associated violations, and those results will impact Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) and Safety Measurement System (SMS) as follows:

Result: Dismissed without a fine or not guilty

Agency Action: Violation removed

Result: Conviction of a different charge

Agency Action: Violation indicated as conviction of a different charge; SMS severity weight reduced to 1

Result: Conviction or dismissed with a fine

Agency Action: Violation retained

A U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia made the ruling March 10 on the OOIDA’s litigation against the FMCSA and the DOT to continue.

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