One driver’s war: Taming CSA and the DataQs challenge process
I finally got the the opportunity to meet Boonville, Ind.-based driver Ed Webb (pictured) in person yesterday afternoon at the newly reopened downtown TA here in Nashville (speaking of which, Aaron Tippen’s performing tomorrow morning there at 10 a.m. and 12 noon if you’re headed down Tennessee way today). Webb was a source in my reporting for the Truckers News cover story this month, just released, about the new CSA compliance program. Before and since carrier percentile rankings in the new Safety Measurement System went live in December, Webb has been fighting to remove several marks from his inspection violation history that were long ago thrown out of court.
Stemming from a rude awakening he received one evening in November 2009 detailed in the story, the violations remained as negative marks on his Pre-Employment Screening Program report, as well as counting against his five-truck-fleet employer’s CSA score, long after they were thrown about by a judge in a court of law.
It’s a problem many drivers face with the advent of CSA and the PSP. As carrier new-hire qualifying staff pay more attention to inspection histories, drivers like Webb see keeping their records as clean as possible as ever more important. The increasingly data-driven nature of safety enforcement in the CSA era necessitates personal driver management of inspection data, formerly the primary province of dedicated staff at larger carriers.
Removing an erroneous mark on your inspection record, whether an inspection incorrectly associated with you or, as in Webb’s case, ticketed violations thrown out in a state or local court that nonetheless remain in the federal database containing CSA- and PSP-related information, is properly handled via the FMCSA’s DataQs website. Resources for help navigating the system exist. OOIDA assists member owner-operators and drivers in filing DataQs challenges, and Legal Benefits Group proprietor Rickey Gooch (www.golegalbenefits.com) says he’s available to advise on making challenges, just as he did for Webb.
A video interview with Gooch follows about the process, and for more, read the full CSA story (coauthored with my colleague Max Kvidera) in this month’s Truckers News. A second vid, also below, details Gooch’s CSA Driver Boot Camp service he provides for CSA education to carriers.
Gooch, Webb, OOIDA’s Joe Rajkovacz and many others have all raised due process questions re: the DataQs system, given the problems detailed above and in the Truckers News CSA story, Webb going so far as to consider his problem with it tantamount to a war. In the end, he was successful in removing two of three marks to his record incurred in that single inspection in November 2009. But as he told me, he viewed it as just a small victory in what he sees as a larger war that’s “still raging. If you get wrote up for something and a judge in a court of law says you’re not guilty of it, it doesn’t seem to matter [under CSA]. If it’s on there, it’s going to stay. I do not agree with that.”
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