Supreme Court Denies Petition to Review ELD Mandate

The Supreme Court earlier this month denied a petition by the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) to review a lower court’s denial of the trade group’s challenge to the Department of Transportation’s rule mandating electronic logging devices in commercial trucks.

The Supreme Court’s decision leaves in place the lower court’s mandate as well as the December 2017 compliance deadline for the use of technology by commercial drivers to log their hours-of-service (HOS) data.

OOIDA in April filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking a review of an October ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit when a three judge panel wrote that the group’s 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.

OOIDA also asked the Supreme Court to determine whether the ELD rule violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to establish a regulatory structure at the state and federal levels that serves as a substitute for a warrant.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision, OOIDA said it will continue to pursue the matter in Congress.

FMCSA on Dec. 10, 2015, issued its Final Electronic-Logging Device Rule (ELD), mandating the use of technology by commercial drivers to log their hours-of-service (HOS) data effective December 2017.

Drivers who begin using an ELD will no longer be required to keep and maintain paper logs, but will be required to maintain supporting documentation – such as shipping documents and fuel purchase receipts -- for carriers or owner-operators to keep on file. It is estimated that about 3 million drivers will be impacted.

The rule applies to all trucks operating in interstate commerce and subject to the hours-of-service regulations, except for pre-2000 model year trucks. Carriers that install a compliant advanced onboard recording device (AONRD) prior to the compliance date have the option to continue using that device for an additional two years following the December 2017 compliance deadline.

The use of ELDs has long been a divisive issue for the trucking industry as fleets and owner-operators disagreed over the merits of switching to automated log books from paper and pencil.

OOIDA has long held that electronic logs will allow dispatchers to pressure drivers to stay on the road. OOIDA challenged the Department of Transportation’s 2010 final rule mandating electronic onboard recorders in a federal appeals court and won in 2011. Unlike OOIDA, which views the rule as regulatory over-reach, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) thinks the rule will further enhance industry safety and said it was pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision.

In issuing the final rule, FMCSA said it provides both procedural and technical provisions designed to protect commercial truck drivers from harassment resulting from information generated by ELDs.

The ELD rule sets technology specifications detailing performance and design requirements for ELDs so that manufacturers can produce compliant devices and systems.

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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