Request to Overturn ELD Mandate Denied

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s request to overturn the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ruling mandating the usage of electronic logging devices (ELDs) on trucks was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit on Monday.

The ruling, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will provide three main benefits:  improve safety by enforcing HOS compliance and therefore preventing fatigue, saving over $1 million in revenue by replacing paper logs, and “increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records.” 1Additionally, ELDs are said to prevent drivers from falsifying logs.

“We believe there will be a leveling of the competitive playing field, which will give no carrier a distinct advantage over another due to falsifying log books,” said Stephens Inc’s Brad Delco.   “We believe this will result in a more rational pricing environment where best-in-breed carriers with a low-cost operation can compete by having greater flexibility to raise driver pay per mile, which historically could have been trumped by a driver running more (albeit illegal) miles.” 2

ELDs record individual driver information such as duty status, location of their vehicle when their duty status changes, how far they traveled, motor carrier and vehicle information, hours-of-service data, and shipper and commodity information. 3Drivers will also be alerted at least 30 minutes ahead of time of when they are closing in on “their driving limit, approaching their on-duty time limit for a 24-hour period, or are nearing their weekly on-duty or driving time limitations.” 3

There has been opposition against the ruling, which goes into full effect Dec. 10, 2017, including concerns over driver harassment, cost of implementation, tightening trucking capacity by reducing the number of hours a driver could log, and there being no direct correlation between ELDs and safety improvements, as OOIDA filed suit last March.

On Oct. 31st, the court denied OOIDA’s request stating that “the public safety concerns inherent in commercial trucking give the government a substantial interest, the ELD records and administrative inspection of them are necessary to further the government’s regulatory scheme, and the FMCSA provides a constitutionally adequate substitution for a warrant, and to meet this requirement the inspection must advise the owner of the commercial property that the search is made pursuant to law and has a properly defined scope and must limit the discretion of the inspecting officer, with the ELD doing both.” 2

OOIDA stressed its disagreement with the court’s decision stating that “because this issue is of vital importance to our members and all small business truckers, we are reviewing our next steps to continue our challenge against this regulation.” 4While it was not clear as of yet what OOIDA will do, “the next step would likely be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.” 4