OOIDA will ask for rehearing on ELD lawsuit

| 11/17/2016

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will petition for a rehearing of a court decision regarding their lawsuit against a government mandate to electronically track commercial truck drivers.

OOIDA says the government’s excuses for mandating electronic logging devices (ELDs) are weak and fail to justify violating the Fourth Amendment rights of professional truck drivers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled against OOIDA last month on the lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. OOIDA has until Dec. 15, 2016, to file a petition asking the full court to hear the case en banc (before the whole panel of 7th Circuit judges).

OOIDA had previously challenged a similar ELD mandate in the courts and won their case. In August 2011, the court vacated a proposed electronic logbook rule based on the argument of harassment of drivers. 

Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, pointed out that it was the same court that heard OOIDA’s case several years ago. At that time, the judges had been very concerned about all of the arguments raised, not just harassment.

“In our previous case on this issue, the court ruled based on just one of our arguments – harassment. This time, we have again raised several issues that should be taken seriously and we hope to have a full review by the court,” said Spencer.

FMCSA had announced the final rule in December 2015 that mandates the use of electronic logbooks for all interstate commerce in trucks that are model year 2000 and newer. OOIDA filed its intent to legally challenge on the next day, following up with the lawsuit filed in March 2016. The federal mandate is scheduled to go into effect in December 2017.

Commercial truck drivers are restricted to a limited number of working and driving hours under current regulations. The FMCSA’s mandate requires that truck drivers use ELDs to track their driving and non-driving activities even though such devices can only track movement and location of a vehicle. OOIDA’s lawsuit states that requiring electronic monitoring devices on commercial vehicles does not advance safety, is arbitrary and capricious, and violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Association says the mandate fails to comply with a congressional statute requiring ELDs to accurately and automatically record changes in drivers’ duty status. ELDs can only track vehicle movement and must rely on drivers to manually input changes in duty status.  Therefore, OOIDA contends the mandated devices are no more reliable than paper logbooks for recording hours-of-service compliance.

On the issue of searches and seizures, OOIDA said the Supreme Court has previously found that prolonged use of a warrantless GPS tracking device on a vehicle is clearly a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

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