OOIDA has voiced its support for Senate bill 1750 which would make amendments to the USA Patriot Act requiring criminal background checks for truck drivers hauling hazardous material.

The Senate legislation sets rules under which state DMVs would be required to do security background checks on truck drivers applying for or renewing hazardous-material endorsements on their commercial drivers licenses (CDL). The Senate bill would restrict the dissemination of a trucker's private information to anyone outside of the government, a key concern of OOIDA.

In a letter to the Senate committee on commerce, science and technology, OOIDA president Jim Johnston also expressed his group's opposition to the reported proposal by ATA that it become a clearinghouse for the security background checks of truck drivers.

OOIDA said that according to published reports, ATA and DAC Services of Tulsa, OK, have begun leasing office space together with the intention of creating a clearinghouse to provide drivers' background information to motor carriers. OOIDA has condemned consideration of any plan that would put the background check function in the hands of motor carriers or private employer organizations, creating a situation where a trucker's personal, private information was exposed to the potential abuse by motor carriers.

According to Johnston, ATA's plan also would theoretically give each carrier the discretion to decide whether or not a driver is a security risk.

"If there is really a final determination that background checks are necessary, the last group in the world that should be doing them is the trucking industry itself," Johnston said.

ATA has not commented on Johnston's letter.