In light of the state of New York’s failure to adopt ELD rules into its own state law, commercial vehicle enforcement of the electronic logging mandate in New York is on hold. The move comes following the filing of a lawsuit by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to stop enforcement of the mandate.
The lawsuit, filed in January 2018, challenged the state’s enforcement of the electronic logging mandate. At the time of the lawsuit, New York was reporting violations of the ELD mandate to state and federal authorities.
After OOIDA’s suit was filed, the state of New York changed its ELD enforcement policies and that change has been recognized by the court.
The New York Supreme Court filed a decision, order, and judgment issued Dec. 31, 2018, recognizing the state of New York’s “current policy that ‘no tickets or notices of violation are to be issued citing the federal ELD regulations, and no violations of ELD rules are to be cited on the inspection report.’”
While the decision ultimately did not rule in favor of OOIDA, it was not because the Association was incorrect about the need for states to adopt the federal mandate into state law. The decision simply acknowledged that New York had not adopted the rules and has not enforced the mandate. The lawsuit was ultimately successful in forcing the state to continue a prohibition on enforcement until proper steps have been taken.
The court recognized that the state’s inspectors “will accept ‘either log books or ELD data’ to establish compliance with (hours of service) requirements.” The decision further acknowledged that state inspectors may “not … examine eRODS or transfer any local data from the ELDs during roadside inspections.”
Effectively, the decision explains that the current policy is that law enforcement can look at paper logs or view the screen on the logging device for record of duty status, but they can’t download or transmit the data. Also, the data may only be used for HOS enforcement, not enforcement of the e-logging mandate.
The class-action lawsuit filed by OOIDA challenges the authority under which New York was enforcing the ELD mandate.
Each state receives grant money from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to supplement enforcement efforts. To obtain this federal grant money, states agree to adopt the equivalent of the federal motor carrier safety regulations into their own state law. State enforcement officials may only enforce state law. Those officials are not authorized to enforce the federal regulations directly, the complaint states. Nor may state officials enforce laws that do not exist.
The complaint goes on to point out New York has not adopted anything into state law related to the ELD mandate. Therefore, OOIDA is seeking to halt state enforcement of the rule until it is properly incorporated and to stop the conduct of warrantless inspections of ELD data.
“New York’s policy change advances OOIDA’s mission to protect motor carriers and truckers in the face of the ELD mandate,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s president. “However, the court’s recent order is appealable and does not resolve other issues associated with the ELD mandate. Those issues include the privacy interests of drivers under the law.”
Importantly, the enforcement policy memorandum relied upon by the New York Court is subject to change by state authorities without notice or review by the public. Therefore, the case is ongoing and OOIDA is committed to continue pursuing the rights of truckers under this troublesome mandate, according to Spencer.
(Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify the final decision in the case.)
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