Judge consolidates OOIDA lawsuits against agency’s violation appeals process
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s two lawsuits against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s DataQ’s violations appeals system have been consolidated after the association filed a motion in court seeking consolidation.
The two cases, OOIDA v. the U.S. Department of Transportatoin and Weaver v. FMCSA, center on the agency’s use of violations against drivers and carriers after the citations were dismissed in subsequent adjudication.
Though the agency has put in motion steps to mitigate this issue, FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System currently is still unable to remove citations unless a state allows the change.
The MCMIS is the data well from which the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System scores are derived. It’s also the data used in the agency’s Pre-employment Screening Program.
FMCSA published a proposed rule in December that will allow it to remove violations from the MCMIS if a citation is dismissed in court or a carrier or driver is found not guilty. Both CSA and PSP reports would reflect any dismissals.
Until that rule is enacted, though, FMCSA says it does not have the authority to direct states to change or alter data in the system. A state’s final ruling is considered “final resolution of the challenge,” the agency says.
OOIDA’s case against the DOT involves four member plaintiffs that filed for a request to change the agency’s data after a violation was dismissed. But all four requests were rejected, and FMCSA did not alter its data.
Weaver’s case against FMCSA, similarly, stems from a violation against him in Montana that was dismissed but never removed from federal records. OOIDA filed a lawsuit on his behalf.
OOIDA filed its motion to consolidate the cases April 28, and U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell granted the request April 29, according to court documents.