Motor carriers, DAC Services and you, part one
by Ruth Jones
Land Line has received a number of questions regarding recently announced mandatory changes in the hiring practices of many motor carriers. As we reported in the November/December issue of Land Line, these changes mean that carriers must now have your written authorization before they check your record with any third party provider, such as DAC services. The new rules went into effect on October 1, 1997, and were stipulated in the Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 1996, an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1971.
What does this mean to truckers?
In effect, this means a carrier can no longer "hire over the phone" unless they call your past employers themselves. Carriers are not required to use DAC Services (or any other third party provider) to check out potential drivers – each carrier makes the decision whether or not to use these services as part of their hiring process. When a carrier chooses to use DAC Services to screen drivers, then that aspect of the hiring process is governed by the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (and its amendments) are designed to protect your rights whenever you apply for a job, a loan, or a credit card. A company that collects and sells information about individuals to lenders and/or employers is called a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), and DAC Services falls into this category. You have the same rights with regard to your DAC reports as you have with regard to your credit reports.
According to DAC’s Derek Hinton, the most recent changes to the FCRA had little effect on the way DAC provides services. "We were already doing most of the things the act required, like providing an 800 number for consumers. We did have to mail our subscribers a "notice to users," outlining the new requirements. These new regulations primarily affected how the motor carriers do business."
Hinton reports that there are approximately 6,000 motor carriers currently subscribing to DAC Services. Reports about a prospective driver that DAC supplies to it’s subscribers fall into five main categories: MVRs from the state that issues the individual’s CDL, employment history, credit report (DAC obtains this information from Experian, one of the "top 3" credit bureaus), results of past drug and alcohol tests, and criminal record.
The driver’s rights
If a motor carrier denies an applicant a job as a result of what they learn from DAC, they must provide the applicant a copy of his/her rights under the law. They must also explain how the applicant can obtain a copy of their DAC report.
By law, all information in any individual’s DAC report is available to that individual anytime, in some cases free of charge. The maximum charge for the information is $8.
Truckers should call DAC at 1-800-381-0645 to find out how to obtain a copy of their DAC file. DAC is also on the internet at www.dacservices.com.
For more information about the Fair Credit Reporting Act and its revisions, call the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection at 202-326-3650, or visit their website at ftc.gov. LL
DRIVERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
know who has seen their DAC reports for the last two years.
dispute any item on their reports. Allegations must be investigated promptly (generally within 30 days).
have any information under dispute corrected or removed if it cannot be verified by the motor carrier who provided the information. Within five days of the conclusion of the
investigation into the dispute, drivers must be provided with a copy of the corrected report.
have the corrected report sent to anyone who has seen their report within the last six months.
In the event the motor carrier verifies the disputed information and it is not removed from the DAC report, the driver has the right to enter a rebuttal (on the DAC report) presenting his/ her side of the dispute. This rebuttal becomes a permanent part of the driver’s record.