Another regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been enacted and another lawsuit challenging its legality has arose. This seems to be a never ending cycle where industry is pitted against the FMCSA in legal battle after legal battle. This case is over the much maligned and debated Electronic Logging Device rule.
Of course this is not the first time the FMCSA has tried to pass a rule mandating electronic logs, and it is not the first time industry has challenged the legality of such a move. In 2011 the industry successfully blocked the rule, and hopes to do the same here. This case recently moved to the oral arguments stage. The oral arguments took place in front of a panel of 7th Circuit judges, Hamilton, Kanne, and Bauer.
During the oral arguments, it was reported that two of the judges remained mostly silent, while Judge Hamilton peppered the counsel with questions. The arguments about why the ELD rule is illegal surrounds the Fourth Amendment provisions protecting an individual’s privacy against unreasonable government actions. As the argument goes, logging and reporting every movement a trucker makes to the government violates those provisions.
On the other side of the argument the government has persuasive reasons why the rule is legal. As their arguments go, an electronic logging device would not do anything that truckers are not already required to document and report, and its implementation would reduce paperwork and streamline reporting. Now the case is in front of the judges to make a decision, and it could be a long time before that happens.
What the Mandate Would Do
Drivers and fleets currently required to report record of duty status would need to comply with the new ELD rule. The date for compliance was set by the agency as December 18, 2017. The electronic device itself must be hardwired to the truck’s engine, and would automatically report duty hours and data to the agency for their records.
This new rule places a number of requirements on truckers required to comply with it. For one, they will need to learn a new system of reporting. In addition, they will need to acquire hardware that complies with the rule and learn how to use it. This all represents a burden on industry that has been criticized as overkill by the agency when current reporting models already give the agency all the information they need.
Your Legal Partner in the Transportation Industry
The transportation industry changes every day in many ways. There are new regulations issued by the FMCSA and rulings by various federal courts on such issues as the Carmack Amendment and transportation contracts in general. To stay on top of it all any trucking company would benefit greatly from the advice and experience that a seasoned transportation law firm can offer.
At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., our team of transportation professionals has decades of experience advising and representing trucking companies in the Northwest. As you think about your company’s legal needs, contact us. We will work with you to help your company grow, and protect your interests.