By: Allen Smith
It is a constant battle. Thousands of truck drivers unable to find another truck driving job due to false information having been reported to their DAC report. The number of drivers affected is unknown. Other false information is constantly being spread through-out the internet, such as one poster stated that the information on the DAC report is 99.9 percent accurate . . . yet, the poster provides no evidence of where this number comes from. Of course, it is a percentage that he has just pulled out of the air, based on whatever his agenda is. It is often not difficult to discover why such behavior goes on. Such as the case of this poster making the 99.9% comment. Hiding in the forum as a “driver” he is in fact, an owner of a trucking company. I prefer to deal with facts, not whimsical numbers and exaggerated statements from a trucking forum that will not allow those drivers to post their DAC stories and show their support of the Stop False DAC Reporting petition.
Another trucking forum refused to allow us to post the link to the DAC petition to their forum saying that we were “only trying to advertise.” Perhaps I am naive? I assumed that trucking forums were for the drivers? If not, what do you think they are for?
Furthermore, when you dig a little deeper, trying to discuss the issues facing the industry and drivers today, I will receive a post back similar to: “You are only trying to sell your eBooks.” Forget about the time spent answering emails, returning phone calls, posting to this blog, broadcasting our Blog Talk Radio show . . . it is all about “trying to sell your eBooks.” Once again, confirming my past article: The Truck Driver’s Worst Enemy.
This is why I am not big on trucking forums. There are only a handful of trucking forums that provide excellent, fair and honest postings. As CDL students or new drivers, realize that whoever is answering your questions you post to the forum, you have no idea who they are. One example is where a new driver asked a question about a certain trucking company and wanted to know if it was a good company to go to. The answer he received was very positive, praising the company and advising him that it would be a great company to get on with. A few months later the new driver was back in the forum, telling his poor experience with the company. It was later identified that the answer had come from a recruiter of the said company. Remember, this is still the internet . . . when asking advise and opinions inside these trucking forums, etc., it could be anybody with an impressive “handle” giving you advise. A key sign to a poor forum is when you try to post a comment that is biased against the conversation that is occurring, and they will “not allow” your comment to post. This is a sign the trucking forum or other various site, has an agenda of some kind.
I will generally get pulled into posting on some forums, but I mainly stay away. Most of the forums just want to do what they have been doing for years and years . . . just the same old talk and “blah, blah, blah” but never really standing up and taking any action of any kind to help raise the standards of the trucking industry for both, the industry and drivers. Taking actual “action” for a good cause is too much work. The “blah, blah, blah” is much easier to do.
As far as complete accuracies for the DAC report, I have no idea what the numbers are. Even if the 99.9% is correct, (which it is not), with four million active CDL drivers in the United States, that would mean that 4,000 drivers have had false information placed on their DAC report, ruining their livelihood. Yet, I have received hundreds and hundreds of emails and letters from drivers across the country sharing their DAC stories with me, as well as having received, thus far, 1,043 signatures on the DAC petition. Furthermore, I have received a large number of emails from drivers wanting to sign the petition, but fear being identified by their employer and losing their jobs. I completely understand and would not want anyone to sign the petition if they thought they could lose their job for doing so. Even if the number is only 4,000 drivers affected by false DAC reporting, what should we do? Just leave them blowing in the wind?
Whether or not we can reach the number of signatures needed for State Representatives, Congress and the Senate to take notice, remains to be seen. There is much more to bringing about reform on an issue than just having a petition. It takes letters, phone calls, emails and various means of drawing attention to the fact that the cause is worth the attention of those with the power to bring about the reform. The best example of this is the undying desire shown by the Rivenburg family for House Bill H. R. 2156, Jason’s Law.
Will we make it? I don’t know. But unlike most of these trucking forums which choose to just send out meaningless chatter and find it too hard to stand up for a cause to help the industry and, most importantly drivers, if we don’t make it, we can at least say we tried. At least we stood up and took action . . . we did something. I am continuing with the DAC cause and will further wait to see how it is shaping up . . . I have a lot of patience.
Recently I have been getting quite a few emails from some of you facing false information on your DAC saying that you “quit without notice” even though you advise that you never even worked for the company, only attended the orientation. This is how a trucking company can place this on your DAC Report:
Once a company has assigned you a driver number, you are officially employed. This number assignment is done during the orientation, in order to have you ready to go on your first load. Even if the company tells you to go home and wait for your first load, having the driver number assigned to you and having been placed in their system, you are officially hired and an employee. If you decide to call the next day and tell them you have chosen not to take the job after all, the company has to pay the accounting department, the HR department, etc., in removing the assigned number from you and pulling you out of their payroll system. Not to mention the time and money they have put in with the training, motel expenses, food expenses and so forth. Once that driver number has been assigned to you, legally your employment with the company has been accepted. Even though you never actually drove for them, legally they can report that you quit without notice.
Is it the moral thing to do? No. Is it the ethical and right thing to do? No. Is it legal? Yes. Due to false information being placed on drivers’ DAC reports, naturally you want to work at having it removed. The first thought is SUE! The DAC services are very acquainted with law suits and will not even blink an eye at this threat. The proper way to handle removing false info from the report, is to follow the procedures laid out by DAC.
- Receive a copy of your DAC Report
- File a Dispute
- Provide a written statement accounting your side of the story
Sounds simple, right? Here’s the key aspect that you need to understand about how to remove false information from the DAC report. Its’ very simple . . . you must have verifiable, tangible, physical . . . some kind of PROOF showing that your account is indeed fact. Without proof, without evidence, chances of having the false info removed is very slim.
They have specific procedures for drivers to follow to begin the dispute process and having false info removed from the report. The main reason drivers have trouble having false info removed, is because the driver has no physical or verifiable proof.
This was further ruled on from the ruling of the April, 2009 court case:
Eaton vs. Raven Transport
“The above case teaches that to hold the trucking company liable, the allegation MUST not only allege that the trucking company made a false report to DAC; but that there MUST be sufficient evidence showing that the trucking company knew their report to DAC was false when it was made to DAC.”
Based on this case, it was determined by the courts that:
“The transport company cannot hide behind a “qualified privilege” when it makes intentional false statements on the DAC report. The transport company will be held legally liable for such intentional and malicious conduct. Not only will the company be liable for compensatory damages resulting from the truckers’ inability to obtain work; but its malicious conduct warrants punitive damages.”
Here is the actual quote determining the win for the driver:
“Plaintiff is a pro se litigant pursuing a claim related to losing his job as a truck driver. …Plaintiff has accused Raven of making defamatory statements about him to the EEOC and the DOL as well as to a potential employer, D. Krutiak Trucking (“Krutiak”). Raven has also been accused of releasing defamatory statements in a DAC Report, an employment-history database for motor carriers. Raven has moved to dismiss on the grounds that the statements that they made were privileged and not subject to liability.
Plaintiff claims that these statements were knowingly false and have made it difficult for him to secure other employment….. (a) An employer or any person employed by the employer who discloses information about a current or former employee’s job performance to a prospective employer is presumed to be acting in good faith; and unless lack of good faith is shown, is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences. For purposes of this section, the presumption of good faith may be rebutted upon a showing that the information disclosed by such employer was knowingly false, was deliberately misleading or was rendered with malicious purpose; or that the information was disclosed in violation of a nondisclosure agreement, or was otherwise confidential according to applicable federal, State or local statute, rule or regulation.
This privilege carries a rebuttable presumption of good faith. Qualified privilege will not attach to the DAC Report or Raven’s communications with Krutiak if they were knowingly false, deliberately, misleading, or rendered with malicious purpose……..Plaintiff has alleged that Raven’s statements were knowingly false and rendered with malice. Since this Court must assume that these allegations are true for the purposes of this motion…Plaintiff’s defamation claim for the DAC Report and for communications with Krutiak cannot be dismissed now…
Considering the foregoing, Raven’s Motion to Dismiss is DENIED”
Eaton v. Raven Transport.
Not Reported in A.2d, 2009 WL 1277991
Del. Super., April 2009.
First, follow the procedures that DAC wants you to take. If that fails and you consider a lawsuit, remember the understanding that came from the ruling of April, 2009:
“That there MUST be sufficient evidence showing that the trucking company knew their report to DAC was false when it was made to DAC.”
To request a copy of your DAC Report . . .
To File a dispute . . .
For more information on the DAC services . . .
I’ll keep you informed on the DAC petition and how it’s looking, and will never just throw out “numbers from the air.” I wish I could give you a powerful and impressive “handle” . . . but my handle is just Allen Smith.
Thanks for all your support.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.