Federal Motor Carrier Association Faces Lawsuit Over Regulations

Kevin Anderson Regulations, Transportation

In what seems to be a growing trend when it comes to regulations handed down by the FMCSA, a trucking industry group is taking them to court over their rules. The most recent culprit is the new regulation that requires all professional drivers to use an electronic log to report and show compliance with other regulations. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed the lawsuit and is willing to put all their resources to fight the new regulation.

The FMCSA recently revealed the final rule for ELDs after several failed attempts to establish an ELD rule in the past. In fact, the FMCSA has a record of losing on a number of proposed regulations in the past. It seems that every time the agency seeks to establish a rule, it comes off as against the law and not in the industry’s best interest. And this perception found a home in recent legislation that requires the FMCSA to show its work on HOS regulations.

What the Rule Will Do

The FMCSA’s final ELD rule not only mandates that all drivers who are currently required to prepare HOS records and duty status records now do so electronically, but it also sets minimum standards for what electronic devices can be used. While there is not a particular brand a company must buy to comply, there are certain minimum standards that must be met. For example, whatever device is used must have a hardwired connection to the truck’s motor.

One good thing about the new rule is the grace period the agency is giving companies to get to compliance. The rule will give companies two years to ensure that their fleets are compliant with the new ELD rule. And companies that begin now to use advanced onboard recording devices to report their HOS and other reports will be able to use those devices for two years after the grace period ends.

According to the agency, the final ELD rule will bring other benefits to the industry. They claim that doing away with paper reports will save both the industry and the agency money, and they anticipate that making records easier to access by investigators will save lives by making driving big rigs safer.

Basis for Legal Challenge

The primary basis for this lawsuit is that the rule will do little to improve safety, but it invades the privacy of drivers in an illegal way. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects all citizens with the right to be safe from unreasonable searches and seizures, and this group views this rule as an intrusion on that right. And this is not the first time the OOIDA has taken the FMCSA to task over ELDs. In fact, a recent lawsuit over a proposed ELD rule by the agency was overturned by a federal court.

Your Trucking Company’s Legal Needs

The legal landscape of the trucking industry continues to change and evolve at an ever increasing pace. That is why it is so important to have an experienced partner to guide your company through that changing landscape and give the legal and practical advice your company needs. At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we have the experience that your company deserves. Contact us for all your company’s legal needs.