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The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Controversy

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Court gives ELD rule the green light

Fleet Owner  /  November 1, 2016

The rule to mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) is good to go, the U.S.  Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled Monday. The requirement, published late last year and set for an initial implementation phase to begin in December 2017, was challenged by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. and truck drivers Mark Elrod and Richard Engel.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said the organization was “disappointed,” and that it “strongly” disagreed with the court's ruling.

“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,” Johnston said in a statement.

An FMCSA spokesman [the American people’s employee] refused to comment.

OOIDA had successfully blocked an earlier attempt to require e-logs to track truck driver hours of service, with the court agreeing that the 2010 rule did not sufficiently address drive harassment, a protection required by Congress. However, the new rule meets the requirement, the court decided, and the panel also rejected four other arguments made by the petitioners in the case.

Broadly, the decision written by Circuit Judge David F. Hamilton regularly refers the 80-year history of regulating the trucking industry and driver work limits. “Congress has long recognized commercial trucking as a dangerous industry. Danger to the public has lain at the center of the hours of service rules since 1935,” he writes, and he quotes a statement from a congressman at the time who coined the term “truckathon” to describe the “brutal, inhumane, and dangerous practice whereby drivers of busses (sic) and trucks are compelled to work 18 to 20 hours a day, to the detriment of their own health and the danger of the public who travel the highways of our country.” 

In the point-by-point denial of OOIDA’s claims, the the three-judge panel rejected the arguments that:

  1. The rule is contrary to law because it permits ELDs that are not entirely automatic: “Petitioners’ reading of the statute seeks to pit one statutory requirement against another rather than allow the agency to balance competing policy goals endorsed by Congress,” the decision summarizes.
  2. The agency used too narrow a definition of “harassment” that will not sufficiently protect drivers: “When defining harassment, the agency sought input from drivers, motor carriers, and trade organizations; it considered administrative factors; and it ultimately provided a reasonable definition of the term.”
  3. The agency’s costbenefit analysis was inadequate and fails to justify implementation of the ELD rule. “The agency did not need to conduct a costbenefit analysis for this rule, which was mandated by Congress. Even if such analysis were required, the studies were adequate.”
  4. The agency did not sufficiently consider confidentiality protections for drivers. “The agency, however, adopted a reasonable approach to protect drivers in this regard.”
  5. The ELD mandate imposes, in effect, an unconstitutional search and/or seizure on truck drivers. “We find no Fourth Amendment violation. Whether or not the rule itself imposes a search or a seizure, inspection of data recorded on an ELD would fall within the “pervasively regulated industry” exception to the warrant requirement. The agency’s administrative inspection scheme for such information is reasonable.”

The American Trucking Association (ATA) participated in the case as a “friend of the court” who supported the rule.

“ATA is pleased that the court has cleared the way for this important regulation and we look forward to its implementation,” spokesman Sean McNally said.

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OOIDA Not Throwing In ELD Towel

Heavy Duty Trucking  /  November 2, 2016

While several trucking lobbies are applauding the court ruling that upholds a Congressional mandate to require electronic logging devices, the association that had sued to overturn the pending ELD rule has not yet given up the fight. 

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association had argued strongly in its March filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that the ELD rule would violate truck drivers’ rights to privacy under the Fourth Amendment.

In denying OOIDA’s petition for judicial review, the court ruled on Oct. 31 that the ELD rule is “not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment” provisions against unreasonable searches and seizures.

However, the court’s crystalline opinion has not convinced OOIDA that it has done all it can to quash the ELD rule. The association does have the option of appealing the appellate court's decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are disappointed and strongly disagree with the court’s ruling,” OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said in a statement. “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.”

The court decision means the final ELD rule, published last December by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, remains on track to go into effect starting on Dec. 18, 2017.

The American Trucking Association (ATA), which has championed the adoption of ELDs, was cheered by the court’s decision. “ATA is pleased that the court has cleared the way for this important regulation and we look forward to its implementation," said Sean McNally, ATA spokesperson.

The Truckload Carriers Association also supports the decision, which it pointed out “mirrors TCA’s own ELD policy, established by its Regulatory Policy Committee and approved by the Board of Directors in 2011.”

“I can remember a time when we referred to this technology as electronic on-board recorders and opposed them,” said TCA Chairman Russell Stubbs. “However, our members, being the innovators that they are, recognized the need for such technology, tested it, adopted it, and became leaders in a field that has placed safety and compliance at the forefront. We applaud the court’s decision in helping to level the playing field and getting ELDs another step closer to being placed in every truck on our roadways.”

David Heller, TCA vice president of government affairs, said that “TCA members have always been proactive in adopting technology that can aid in motor carrier compliance, so I know that the majority of them will be ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting ELD equipment. We will enjoy focusing on what’s next in trucking technology that will truly have a positive effect on motor carrier and driver safety.”

TCA noted that the court’s decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 MY trucks and that, after Dec.16, 2019, all drivers and carriers subject to the rule must use certified, registered ELDs that comply with requirements of the ELD rule.

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security (aka the Trucking Alliance) went so far as to declare that the court decision “clears the way for a new era in the freight transportation industry,” noting that the ruling “virtually assures" that all interstate freight carriers must install ELDs" and thus will provide law enforcement with "a more accurate way to verify compliance with drivers’ on-duty driving time.”

The Trucking Alliance said a key aspect of the Seventh Court’s ruling was that the three-judge panel frequently cited the import it lent to Congress having mandated ELDs back in 2012, including their statement that “requiring ELDs was not left to the discretion of the agency; Congress mandated it.” 

Because Congress mandated ELDs “rather than relying on FMCSA to simply promulgate a rulemaking, gave this issue much more weight,” said Lane Kidd, the Alliance’s managing director. “Congress mandating ELDs will prove to be the pivotal point that changed the trucking industry for the better and [began] a new era of safety and compliance.”

“ELDs, when embraced by our industry, will improve commercial highway safety,” said Reggie Dupré, president and CEO of Dupré Logistics and secretary/treasurer of the Trucking Alliance as well as a former chair of the American Trucking Associations’ Safety Policy Committee. “ELDs are another technology that assists our drivers in their effort to be safe and reduce accidents.”

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OOIDA denied request for ELD rehearing

Fleet Owner  /  January 13, 2017

Group still contends that government reasons for mandating electronic ELDs are weak and fail to justify violating the Fourth Amendment rights of professional truck drivers.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said its petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit for a rehearing of its legal case against the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate was denied this week.

The three-judge panel had ruled against OOIDA’s original lawsuit back in October, prompting the group to file this now-defunct petition in December.

“It’s clear now that we have to pull out all the stops to convince lawmakers and the new Trump administration of the need to set aside the ELD mandate,” Jim Johnston, OOIDA’s president and CEO, said in a statement, adding that his organization is preparing for the “next phase” of its ELD mandate challenge with an appeal to the Supreme Court. Yet he added that OOIDA will also continue to pursue the issue on the congressional side.

OOIDA still contends that “the government’s excuses for mandating ELDs are weak” and fail to justify violating the Fourth Amendment rights of professional truck drivers.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president, told Fleet Owner in an interview late last year that there’s been far more “take” than “give” in recent years where regulatory oversight of trucking is concerned. But he’s hopeful the changeover to the Trump administration might encourage a “fresh look” at highway safety as a whole.

“The regulatory regime has been on steroids for the past few years. Is there a cumulative effect? There sure is,” he explained.

“The kind of mindset in the regulatory/legislative community right now is that more is better,” Spencer stressed. “But although there’s been more regulation and more compliance than there’s ever been, crash numbers keep going up, not down. So what the very people making all of these rules should be asking is, ‘What the hell is going on?’”

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OOIDA Takes ELD Rule to Supreme Court

Heavy Duty Trucking  /  April 13, 2017

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has flung a Hail Mary pass in its quest to overturn the electronic logging device mandate, petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether the regulation violates the Fourth Amendment.

The April 12 filing came three months to the day after OOIDA was denied a rehearing by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit of an October ruling by a panel of that court.

The panel had found against the association, determining that the ELD rule would not violate drivers’ rights to privacy under the Fourth Amendment.

But along with the issue of protecting driver privacy, in its petition to the Supreme Court, OOIDA is also seeking a ruling on whether the ELD rule violates the Fourth Amendment by failing to establish a regulatory structure at the state and federal levels that serves as a substitute for a warrant.

“We believe that the Seventh Circuit erred in allowing warrantless searches of 3.5 million drivers, designed specifically to uncover evidence of criminal activity,” Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA said. “In doing so, the Seventh Circuit decision splits directly with rulings by both the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts.

“This is also the first time that the pervasively regulated industry exception has been applied directly to the search of an individual to serve the ordinary needs of criminal law enforcement,” he added. 

Johnston also said that OOIDA was “very disappointed and surprised by the ruling against us by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals [in January]. “That same court had ruled in our favor on a previous lawsuit of ours on this same issue.”

He added that OOIDA will also continue “to pursue the [ELD] issue on the congressional side” as part of its “Knock Out Bad Regs” campaign and it will “continue to communicate with the Trump administration about this and other regulations.”

According to OOIDA, requiring electronic monitoring devices on commercial vehicles “does not advance safety since they are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording compliance with hours-of-service regulations.”

As it stands now, the ELD regulation is a final federal rule. Compliance will start to kick in this December.

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OOIDA to Supreme Court: ELD mandate violates 4th amendment

Fleet Owner  /  April 13, 2017

E-log requirement "equivalent of warrantless surveillance" of truckers

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. is taking its opposition to the electronic logging device mandate to the highest court in the land. The small business trucking group this week filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was wrong when it ruled that the e-log requirement does not violate Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure. The deadline for compliance with the ELD rule is Dec. 18.

“We believe that the Seventh Circuit erred in allowing warrantless searches of 3.5 million drivers, designed specifically to uncover evidence of criminal activity,” said Jim Johnston, president and CEO of OOIDA. “In doing so, the Seventh Circuit decision splits directly with rulings by both the Fifth and Eleventh Circuit Courts. This is also the first time that the pervasively regulated industry exception has been applied directly to the search of an individual to serve the ordinary needs of criminal law enforcement.”

OOIDA contends that the “pervasively regulated industry exception” to the warrant requirement, the basis of the Seventh Circuit’s denial, does not extend beyond the search of “business premises.” Additionally, for such an exception and warrantless search, the Supreme Court imposed strict guidelines—guidelines which the ELD rule does not specifically address.

In short, according to OOIDA, an ELD requirement is the equivalent of warrantless surveillance of truckers.

“The ELD Rule does far more than authorize administrative inspections of business premises. HOS regulations are directed toward the personal conduct of drivers,” the petition states. “ELDs monitor and record driver conduct, including driver activity and location, twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, more expansively and invasively than paper logbooks currently do.”

The association will also continue to pursue the issue on the congressional side as part of its “Knock Out Bad Regs” campaign and will continue to communicate with the Trump administration about this and other regulations, Johnson said.

“We were very disappointed and surprised by the ruling against us by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals,” Johnston said. “That same court had ruled in our favor on a previous lawsuit of ours on this same issue.” said Johnston.

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Texas to require intrastate drivers to use ELDs by 2019, other states to follow

James Jaillet, Overdrive  /  April 19, 2017

Texas has updated its hours of service code to require intrastate truckers to use electronic logging devices to record duty status. Truck operators in the state must begin using the devices by Dec. 19, 2019.

The effective date of the federal government’s mandate requiring ELDs for interstate truckers is Dec. 18, 2017.

Texas’ new regs are sparse on detail, simply pointing to the U.S. DOT code requiring ELDs and establishing an effective date. The minimum device spec’s will be the same as the federal government’s mandate, but it’s unclear whether the exemptions to the federal mandate will apply to intrastate operators. Overdrive has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety regarding possible exemptions and will report on the information will it becomes available.

The state specifies an exemption for truckers hauling agricultural products within a 150-air-mile radius of a commodities’ point of origination or distribution during harvest season.

Though Texas appears to be the first state to issue an ELD requirement for intrastate truckers, other states will likely soon follow, says Joe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Association. Federal regulations require states to adopt laws for intrastate truckers compatible with national laws.

Most states will fall in line without fanfare, he says, but there could be a few standouts, he said, at least initially.

Which states may try to rebut the U.S. DOT on adopting an ELD requirement for intrastate truckers isn’t clear, he says, but there’s already some drama playing out on the issue in his home state, California.

“It remains to be seen if this state falls in line,” he says. Rajkovacz says looser intrastate laws on hours of service — 12 hours of daily driving time — has the state’s regulators wondering if the cost of the mandate for intrastate operators will yield a safety benefit.

“In the end,” he says, federal laws requiring state compliance “will probably win the day.”

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I predict the new regs will assure that 2000 and earlier model trucks will be kept in serviceable condition until the frames literally disintegrate from metal fatigue lol! Perhaps a new era for " glider kits"😁

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Much ado about nothing... I haven't done paper logs in over two decades, starting using electronic logs at UPS back in the early 90s. As far as pre 2000 trucks hanging around to avoid ELDs, most of those old trucks are on runs that are already exempt from logbook requirements.

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14 hours ago, Underdog said:


UPS, FedEx, and most of the LTL freight companies have terminal to terminal runs meticulously calculated to be within logbook compliance. Nothing wrong with that, if it works for you. Most of the rest of the trucking industry is unpredictable from day to day, and doesn't always fit into a neat little 14 hour package. My day today ended up totally different than what I expected starting out this morning, I was 30 minutes over 14 just to get to my hotel. WHY was I 30 minutes over, you ask? Because I knew the restaurant would be closed when I got here, so (gasp) heaven forbid, I stopped to get supper! Lock me up now.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

Though she "retired" from driving twelve or so years ago .  . .

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So when you gonna be able to retire?

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So when you gonna be able to retire?

In about 20 years. I'm only 47. Hope to have a long and productive career. I don't see E-logs helping me with that.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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3 hours ago, Underdog said:


In about 20 years. I'm only 47. Hope to have a long and productive career. I don't see E-logs helping me with that.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

I am surprised she didn't know that!  She knows all about us from a few words in our posts. I am sure she knows when I retired from just reading this. Hell she knew all my trucks are all crap from just reading the word Marmon. 

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I'm going to disclose another secret... I went tech school for heavy truck repair many years ago and spent 10 years working as a mechanic. Not bragging, but my skills go beyond that of your average steering wheel holder. I own trucks and drive because I want to, not because I'm stuck doing it. I can make more money on the road, and I actually enjoy what I do. It's hard for me to think about retirement, because l am doing what I want in life right now. I will probably keep going until my body gives up on me. There are lots more like me out there driving truck, and that is why there is such resistance to E-logs. Many of us see our way of life disappearing, brought about by the rest of you that see trucking as just a job.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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Anyone with decent technician skills can make more money fixing trucks than driving them, and get to sleep at home too. Sounds to me like you're a hobby trucker.

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Always seemed strange why someone would forego a good job with health insurance and a pension to drive, fix, and live in an old truck for less money. In some cases it was alcohol or drug addiction that kept them from passing drug tests, or mental health issues that got them fired. In some cases they were trying to avoid their responsibility to provide for their spouse and children. But in some cases it's plain and simple just the lure of the road and independence... I hear that calling every once in awhile, but then I get out pencil and paper and "do the numbers" and they don't add up.

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When you're all by yourself, "independence" is sorta overrated...

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No point trying to explain any further. If you want to be a socialist robot all your life, enjoy. That's what's great about America. If I want to live in my old truck, I am free to do so. And by the way, don't categorize me or assume the reasons for my choices in life. I have always been drug-free also. And I'm not addicted to Kool-Aid, either.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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20 minutes ago, Underdog said:

No point trying to explain any further. If you want to be a socialist robot all your life, enjoy. That's what's great about America. If I want to live in my old truck, I am free to do so. And by the way, don't categorize me or assume the reasons for my choices in life. I have always been drug-free also. And I'm not addicted to Kool-Aid, either.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

 

6 hours ago, TeamsterGrrrl said:

Always seemed strange why someone would forego a good job with health insurance and a pension to drive, fix, and live in an old truck for less money. In some cases it was alcohol or drug addiction that kept them from passing drug tests, or mental health issues that got them fired. In some cases they were trying to avoid their responsibility to provide for their spouse and children. But in some cases it's plain and simple just the lure of the road and independence... I hear that calling every once in awhile, but then I get out pencil and paper and "do the numbers" and they don't add up.

Kind of similar to having your degree and not using it. Wasted potential, tsk tsk tsk.  Or are you exempt?

Edited by 41chevy
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So you think I should have been a social worker instead of a truck driver? I had the credentials for licensure in either profession...

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